Gasol 'probably not' open to coming off bench

Gasol 'probably not' open to coming off bench

Published Jan. 18, 2013 6:45 a.m. ET

Pau Gasol returned after a five-game absence on Thursday night in the Lakers 99-90 loss to the Miami Heat.

Gasol came off the bench in his first appearance since suffering a concussion on Jan. 6 against the Denver Nuggets.

"I've been a starter my entire career. I think this is my first games as a Laker, coming from the bench," said Gasol. "It's not something that I would enjoy I think."

Gasol said he understood the circumstances, "coming back from the concussion" against the Heat after almost two weeks off.

Would he be open to coming off the bench moving forward?

"Probably not," answered Gasol.

Additionally the Lakers forward-center expects to be on the floor in the final moments of games.

"I would always like to finish games. I think the most determined players, important players finish games," said Gasol after the defeat.  "When the games are on the line, you need to have the best players on the floor."

Coach Mike D'Antoni has struggled to blend big men Dwight Howard and Gasol successfully with the team's supporting cast. Given that Howard is very likely to be on the floor with the game on the line, the Lakers have to decide if that's a workable combination.

Gasol scored 12 points against the Heat, eight coming in the first half.  Miami scored the final nine points of the game against the Lakers (with a lineup that included Howard and Gasol).

-Eric Pincus