Pau Gasol back in action for Lakers

With Kobe Bryant (temporarily) some 6,000 miles away in Germany and Dwight Howard (permanently) some 1,500 miles away in Houston, Pau Gasol had plenty of room to operate on the court for the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

Gasol had 13 shot attempts in 23 minutes in the Lakers’ 97-88 loss to the Denver Nuggets. While he didn’t shoot the ball all that well (4-for-13 for 13 points) in his preseason debut and the first organized game he’s played in more than five months, just the sheer amount of touches was a welcome change for the 13-year veteran.

“I think that’s a good indication of how much liberty and how much my teammates also trust me to make plays and make shots and then, when the defense collapses, find them,” Gasol said after the game.

It was also a far cry from last season, when he was often positioned at the elbow to create space for Howard, while Bryant was left cajoling Gasol to buck the system for his own benefit.

Reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles