Wednesday night’s game was all about honoring the late Dr. Buss. The Lakers faced the Celtics, and the Lakers gave Dr. Buss a proper sendoff by beating Boston 113-99. The game was filled with emotion, but it also shined a light on the rather successful matching of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.
While Howard had arguably his best game yet in a Lakers uniform and Nash passed Magic Johnson in all-time assists, it was the working of the marriage between Nash and Howard that gave Lakers fans a ton of hope. As Kevin Ding reported after the game, Steve Nash discussed their two-man game, saying:
“We talked coming out of the All-Star break that he and I have really got to find a way to be a tandem. He has to find ways to free me up, and therefore I am going to find ways to free him up — and really become a team and a tandem together, put a lot of pressure on the defense and make the game easier for our teammates. We are going to work at it. It is still a work in progress, but the last two games before the break he really committed to running pick and rolls, setting good screens, rolling hard.”
“And I think tonight you either saw me free for jump shots or him going down the paint for fouls or finishes. It has to be a big part of our offense.”
On Thursday night Dwight Howard and Steve Nash were on the court together for 26 minutes. During those 26 minutes, the Lakers’ had an offensive efficiency rating 142.4 and a defensive efficiency rating of 101.8. Compare that to the Lakers’ season offensive efficiency rating of 104.9 (8th in NBA) and a defensive efficiency rating of 103.4 (15th in NBA). The next step is to take what worked last night between Nash and Howard, and build that into consistency.