Pau Gasol: Insult Talk ‘Pretty Pathetic’

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Pau Gasol says he got an unpleasant reminder of the dangers inherent in being around too many reporters with not enough news during an extra day off in the NBA finals.

The Los Angeles big man blasted interpretations of his comments about aging as a pointed criticism of Celtics star Kevin Garnett on Saturday, calling the manipulation of his words "pretty pathetic."

On Friday, Gasol was asked how he and Garnett have both changed since Gasol joined the NBA in 2001. The 7-foot Spaniard gave a detailed answer, saying both players have lost explosiveness through natural aging and have adjusted their games accordingly.

Later in the day, Gasol was stunned to hear his words clipped into insults to Garnett and the Celtics, who mostly didn't react to the pot-stirring.

"Insult? No, 'insult' is a strong word," Garnett said. "I feel like a lot of times what I'm hearing is just personal observation. I don't think it's going at my character, or judging my character."

On Saturday, Gasol said he understands "to an extent" why his comments passed for news during the two-day break between the series' first two games.

"I understand media try to create situations for whatever reason, create attraction," Gasol said. "But again, sometimes I extend my answers too long. Maybe I shouldn't do that. I should be shorter with my answers and don't give away just anything so it can't be manipulated that way and used. … It's the finals. It's going to be a little bit of chaos. We've just got to focus on doing whatever it takes to win Game 2."

HEALTHY CELTICS
Boston coach Doc Rivers thinks backup Marquis Daniels likely is ready to return from his concussion. Rivers also says Rajon Rondo won't be joining Daniels on the shelf any time soon.

Daniels was hurt in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, courtesy of Dwight Howard's elbow to his head. Though Daniels hasn't played much in the postseason, Rivers thinks the veteran could be a valuable body on defense — particularly if the clubs get into another foulfest similar to the 54-foul extravaganza of Game 1.

Rivers said Daniels would go through a full practice with the Celtics on Saturday.

"I thought he was out for the playoffs, personally, so that's a good thing," Rivers said. "I can't guarantee [Sunday], but I think there's a good chance."

Rivers also said Rondo doesn't have a back injury, as Boston general manager Danny Ainge inferred in a recent radio interview. The point guard instead has an injury a bit lower than that, but it's nothing new.

"It's his butt. His glutes are tight," Rivers said. "You see him do this stretch almost every chance he gets. He's been doing that throughout the playoffs, though. Listen, everyone has something going on with their bodies right now. The NBA playoffs are very difficult, and by the time you get to the Finals, there's a chance that every single guy on the floor has some kind of nick. We're no different than anybody else."

ONE REGRET
Ray Allen
is a well-traveled NBA veteran who finally won a championship with the Boston Celtics. Looking back over his career, the shooting guard wouldn't have done much differently — except in the Pacific Northwest.

"I wish I could have fought a little bit harder in Seattle when the team was moving," Allen said. "We never thought that would happen. We just always assumed it was going to get taken care of. That's a disappointing thing in my career."

Allen played five of his 14 NBA seasons with the SuperSonics, scoring a career-best 26.4 points per game in his final season in Seattle in 2006-07. The Sonics traded him to Boston that summer, and they were gone to Oklahoma City one year later.

TO THE BEACH

The Lakers and Celtics spent Saturday at Los Angeles' training complex in suburban El Segundo, a short drive from the Pacific Ocean. NBA finalists usually practice at the arena where the games are played, but the teams were driven out of Staples Center on Saturday by a concert with R&B stars Maxwell and Jill Scott.

"I don't mind," Lakers center Andrew Bynum said. "All of our stuff is out here anyway."

WOODEN'S TOUCH
Although John Wooden touched more lives than anyone could count, Rasheed Hazzard has a special memory of an encounter with his father's mentor.

Hazzard, the son of former UCLA star and coach Walt Hazzard, is an advance scout and special assistant coach for the Lakers. When his playing career was derailed by injuries, the younger Hazzard got a head start on his coaching career at Venice High School with a serendipitous ride on a private jet with Wooden to a charity function.

"We talked that whole trip about everything in coaching," Hazzard said. "We actually wrote up my first two practice plans on that trip."

Hazzard, who also has been an assistant on the Lakers' D-League team, said Wooden instructed him to take the long view of his profession.

"You need to think about character as a coach," Hazzard said, recalling Wooden's words. "Don't focus on making them ballplayers. Focus on making them young men. Don't judge what you've done by wins and losses. Judge it 10 years down the road, if they've become good young men. That's the real challenge."

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