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The puzzle of playing Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol has been a daunting one for the Los Angeles Lakers, both offensively and defensively. While it's clear that Gasol does not have the foot speed to defend many power forwards, he still has the ability to play as a "stretch" four in the sense that he is still considered a threat from the mid-range and his ability to read the defense and make the right pass is top-notch.
The thing is, this puzzle was figured out long ago. When Steve Nash came back from his fibula injury in December the Lakers were running HORNS sets and they were working like a charm. As they pulled further and further from December, they seemed to drift just as far away from running the versatile set.
A handful of injuries later, and the Lakers offense is still back and forth as to what it may, or may not, be.
In Sacramento Gasol had 12 points, stretched the floor well, and in the process notched in 10 assists. Most were from the elbow, and most were out of HORNS sets. It was the first time since that early Nash-return era that the Lakers heavily relied on the set to create for them, but it worked like a charm.
Make no mistake -- Gasol on an individual level is still best suited to work from the post, but forcing Howard away from the post more often than not while both players are on the floor can't be the only option for Los Angeles. HORNS still serves as one of the most versatile sets for a team with four players with a wide array of abilities to showcase.
The Playbook has been a series featuring image-by-image breakdowns of plays to point out specifics during plays, but this is the first venture into video for the series. After playing with it for a bit, it seems to be a format that helps bring to life what The Playbook was always meant to be.
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