Two days after Kobe Bryant told Pau Gasol to put on his "big boy pants," Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com calls Bryant's latest comments his strongest message of support to date for Gasol, who's struggling amid trade rumors and tendinitis in both knees. "I want him to dig in and be determined, not discouraged," Bryant said. "We should go to him more on the post because he can dominate from there as he has to the tune of two rings. I'm sure we will adjust and figure out a balance when he comes back healthy." Bryant also said he loves Pau "like a brother," but Lakers fans aren't feeling the love from their team so far. While we wait to see if and when the Lakers get it going, here's what the Pacific Division teams on top of them in standings are up to.
- Lamar Odom has become a locker room leader for the Clippers, handing out books to other players a la Phil Jackson, but his most significant impact must come on the court, where he's showing signs of returning to form, argues Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- Mavs center Chris Kaman, who spent eight seasons with the Clippers before they sent him to the Hornets in the Chris Paul deal, believes Clips owner Donald Sterling is growing more serious about winning as he gets older, as Jeff Caplan of NBA.com documents. "You’ve seen since they picked (Paul) up all the guys wanting to be there," Kaman said. "Before he was there no one wanted to be there. It was like people hated themselves for being there."
- Marcus Thompson II of the Bay Area News Group details how Draymond Green's toughness, intelligence and obsession with winning have contributed to the Warriors' strong 10-7 start.