The Lakers’ backcourt does not appear what everyone expected for the postseason a month ago, let alone prior to the start of the season. If you went up to any Lakers fan and told them the Lakers would be in the playoffs with no Kobe Bryant, that fan would have thought you were crazy. The injury plagued season for the Lakers has been especially cruel to Steve Nash.
Injuries caused Nash to miss a big portion of the regular season, and his latest injury forced him to miss all the regular season games in April. Nash finally made his return in Game 1 on Sunday of the first round series against San Antonio, where he admittedly struggled with his game.
We all know of his skills, abilities and intangibles that he brings to the court. No one knows this better than Mike D’Antoni from their days together in Phoenix and now in Los Angeles. According to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLA, D’Antoni said that the Lakers can’t get to the next stage without Nash.
“He gives us that threat on the floor that’s good and I think he’ll get better as his leg gets better,” D’Antoni said Monday after the Lakers’ practice. “We’re not going to do it without him. He’ll battle through some injuries that he has, but he’ll be ready to go Wednesday [for Game 2].”
Steve Nash, who posted 16 points on 6-15 shooting but only earned three assists, told reporters on Monday that he will play in Game 2, despite continued soreness. Nash needs to be more effective in Game 2 in order to spread the court and make the defense of San Antonio spread out, instead of collapsing in the paint. Therefore, the post game of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol can in turn be more effective and efficient.
The good news is that the Lakers don’t play until Wednesday, giving Nash one more day of non-competition rest and one more day of practice to further shake off the rust that was apparent in Game 1 on Sunday.
In case you missed it, here’s Lakers Nation’s reporter chat with Lakers beat writer Mark Medina.
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