A win certainly made for a little less tension after Lakers practice this morning, but the reality of the Lakers winning only one of their past seven games was definitely still evident. Earl Clark was in good spirits, and D’Antoni made it very clear that the Lakers are still playoff contenders. Plus, Pau Gasol will be out for tomorrow night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Here’s what you need to know from practice.
Pau Gasol will be out for tomorrow night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Tuesday will be his fifth game missed with a concussion. He’s already missed 12 of the Lakers’ past 37 games.
Dwight Howard shook his head sideways when asked if his shoulder hurt today. Although he left the end of practice to get treatment on his shoulder, head coach Mike D’Antoni said that he did practice with the team this morning.
There is still no timetable on Steve Blake’s return. He has been participating in shooting drills, but that’s about it. D’Antoni didn’t seem confident that Blake would begin practicing at a rapid rate anytime soon.
At practice this morning, Mike D’Antoni agreed with Kobe’s comments after last night’s win, that offense should no longer be the focus. D’Antoni notes that it was the defense, especially Kobe’s defense on Irving, that produced a win against the Milwaukee Bucks. Expect to see a lot more on-ball defense from Kobe Bryant, as Nash noted,
“Kobe’s best when he’s challenged.”
Plus, D’Antoni was once again very impressed with Earl Clark’s performance and says that he has earned his spot in the rotation.
“He’s been doing a terrific job…. We’re extremely happy where he is right now and hopefully he’ll keep progressing. His energy and length on defense, his body is just alive, and it’s giving us a good jolt.”
Despite a 16-21 record, the Lakers have not lost sight of their playoff hopes, and D’Antoni expressed that with confidence at practice today.
“We’ve got to go like 31-15 or whatever it is. We can do that.”
The Lakers, though, are realizing that rather than look to the future, they need to concentrate on winning one game at a time. And, although, Thursday’s game against the Miami Heat might be on all of our minds, Steve Nash reminds us that tomorrow night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks is just as big as any.
“Tomorrow night’s game is so big for us, that Thursday night seems like a month away.”
The Lakers play the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday night at Staples Center. Tip-off it set for 7:30PM. Check out our practice videos here.
VIDEO: Steve Nash Talks About Kobe’s Defense, Dwight’s Return and Earl Clark