2012-13 Top 10 Moments: #8

June 15, 2013 3:02 pm PDT
Moment #8 - Pau Gasol

Not many seven footers put together even one triple-double with assists, but Pau Gasol managed to do it twice in the final three games of the regular season.

Battling injuries throughout the 2012-13 campaign, often playing far away from the basket and often getting touches only after several teammates, the Spaniard wasn't himself … but that changed in April.

With Steve Nash out injured, Gasol stepped into a playmaking role from both low and high post positions, the Lakers starting to play through him far more than they had since the back-to-back title years. He averaged 17.5 points on 51.3% shooting with 12.1 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.3 blocks per game as the Lakers went 7-1 in April, highlighted by triple-doubles on April 12 and April 17 against Golden State and Houston.

Both were must win games, the Lakers battling Utah to get into the final playoff spot.

The Warriors were Kobe Bryant's final opponent of the season, as he tore his Achilles late in the game, but Gasol was outstanding throughout. Gasol hit 9 of his 13 shots (69.2 percent) and 8 of 8 free throws for 26 points plus 10 assists and 11 rebounds in 37 minutes. L.A. emerged with a 118-116 victory to maintain the No. 8 seed.

Against the Rockets, Gasol scored 17 points with a season-high 20 rebounds, 11 assists plus two blocks in a 99-95 win that delivered the No. 7 seed to the Lakers, ensuring they wouldn't miss the playoffs for just the third time since the late Dr. Jerry Buss bought the team in 1979.