pau gasol

The Los Angeles Lakers trudged off the Staples Center floor late Saturday, a single loss now separating them from season’s end, another fourth-quarter collapse once again causing their undoing. They didn’t show much poise in the locker room, either, with Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum pointing blame at others for allowing the Oklahoma City Thunder to steal their second victory in three games.

Bryant missed eight of his 10 shots in the final quarter, but shrugged off his struggles by saying his teammates’ lack of aggressiveness “forced” him to take tough shots. He also left no question which teammate deserved the most blame for the 103-100 loss in Game 4.

Pau Gasol.

Bryant faulted Gasol for not playing aggressive enough. It was also Gasol’s turnover that led to Kevin Durant making the winning 3-pointer with 13.7 seconds left.

“Pau’s got to be more assertive,” Bryant said. “He’s the guy they’re leaving [open]. When he’s catching the ball, he’s looking to pass. He’s got to be aggressive. He’s got to shoot the ball or drive the ball to the basket. He will be next game.” …

After a dominant first half by Andrew Bynum on Saturday, the Thunder began fronting the Lakers’ center with Kendrick Perkins. Bryant thought Gasol didn’t attack enough when Serge Ibaka left him to help Perkins.

“He’s looking to swing the ball too much,” Bryant said. “He’s got to take his shot.”

– Reported by Johnny Ludden of Yahoo! Sports