Marc Gasol, Wesley Matthews play pivotal roles in Lakers win

Marc Gasol referenced a role from the movie “Pulp Fiction” as a source of motivation for helping the Lakers when called upon against the Denver Nuggets. Wesley Matthews referenced his faith.

The two sage veterans came to the Lakers to play a role that at times is simply sitting on the bench and picking up DNPs (did not play).

On Monday night at Staples Center, the short-handed Lakers called upon Gasol and Matthews, who delivered in a 93-89 victory.

Gasol contributed 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot, and was a plus-17 in the plus-minus department.

Matthews had eight points on three-for-three from the field, including making both of his three-pointers.

Gasol had said he was not aware of Kyle Kuzma lobbying for the backup center to get more playing time after Sunday night’s loss to Toronto. But Gasol did let Kuzma know he appreciated how his teammate looked out for him.

‘And I told him, ‘I’m fine on that Mr. Wolf role.’ You just come in whenever things aren’t going great and kind of help everyone,” Gasol said. “So, I accepted it. I’ll try to do as best as possible at that role.”

Harvey Keitel played the role of “Mr. Wolf,” the fixer able to take care of the boneheaded mistakes of Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) and Vincent Vega (John Travolta) in “Pulp Fiction.”

“I’m here to help,” Mr. Wolf tells the two in the movie. “If my help is not appreciated, lots of luck, gentlemen.”

The Lakers needed Gasol’s help on many levels.

They needed him when starting center Andre Drummond got into foul trouble. The Lakers needed Gasol to help contain Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets’ talented center and front-runner for the NBA’s most valuable player award, who finished with 32 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

But Gasol did his part to limit Jokic just enough to help the Lakers pull out the win.

Even though he was solid with his defense and three-for-four shooting from three-point range, Gasol didn’t want to talk about himself.

“I think we have to start thinking more as a team, instead of mentioning guys,” Gasol said. “It’s more who we are as a team and who we’re going to be. Everyone tied to one another regardless of your situation. You play zero minutes, you play 20 minutes, the team success is everyone’s success.

“So, when you go out there, you try to do as best as possible to help the team, because if you help the team, more times than not, we’re going to win a lot of games. So, I think we have to kind of forget about the players and situations and individual guys and feel more as a whole of who we’re going to be as a team moving forward.”

Gasol’s point was taken.

Still, there was a moment in the fourth quarter when Gasol and Matthews played pivotal roles in the Lakers opening a 14-point lead.

Gasol grabbed a rebound and threw a length-of-the-court pass to a streaking Matthews for a layup.

Then Gasol made a three-pointer, followed by a Matthews three, a Gasol blocked shot on Jokic and another Matthews three that gave the Lakers an 83-69 lead.

“Marc was amazing. The whole team was,” Matthews said “I can’t speak for Marc. But for myself, my friends, my family, God, trusting, believing in yourself, trusting the work that you put in and just staying ready. That’s part of it.

“Like I said, basketball, it’s just like life, it’s unpredictable. You don’t know what may or may not happen, but you got to be prepared for it. You got to continue to go on. You can either go on with it or it goes on without you.”




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