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Gasol Ruled Out for Rest of the Season

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers Prep for Home Regular-Season Finale

140412_youngWhile the Lakers go into Sunday’s matchup vs. Memphis losers of their last six, the Grizzlies are battling for one of the final two playoff spots with Dallas and Phoenix.

Marc Gasol, who missed 23 games earlier this season with a sprained MCL, is one of the key reasons for Memphis’ success. Since his return to the lineup, the Grizzlies have rattled off a 30-13 record. With him out of the lineup, they went 10-13.

Gasol has come on strong of late in particular, averaging 20.5 points and 12.0 rebounds on 60.7 percent field goals in wins over Miami and Philly in the last two.

While Marc has been instrumental in the Grizzlies’ postseason push, older brother, Pau, has been sidelined the last five games and nine of the last 10 due to vertigo. Pau, as well as Steve Nash (nerve root irritation), did not practice on Saturday and both are being listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game. Chris Kaman, who has also missed the last five, went through basketball-related activities but is still doubtful to play.

After Friday’s game vs. Golden State, the Lakers set a franchise low for most losses in a season with 54, although a rash of injuries and a lack of continuity in the starting lineup have attributed to that factor.

“We started off with everybody in place,” Nick Young said. “And when people get hurt, it forces other people to play different roles and play out of rhythm.”

Young, who missed 17 games total earlier this season, has come on strong of late, averaging 24.3 points on 49.5 percent field goals and 42.6 percent on three-pointers in April. Despite the up-and-down season, the L.A. native had nothing but positive things to say about his time here.

“For me personally, it was great,” he said. “Even though we kept losing, I got an opportunity to play at home, play for the Lakers and I learned a lot being around Kobe (Bryant) and (Steve) Nash and the coaching staff and I think it helped my game blossom.”

Jodie Meeks’ game has also improved considerably from a year ago. Meeks is currently posting career bests across the board in points (15.6), rebounds (2.6), assists (1.8), steals (1.4) and field-goal percentage (45.6), while logging a team-high 33.1 minutes per game.

“I’ve gotten more minutes and coach Mike D’Antoni has given me a lot of confidence to go out there and play freely,” he said. “He doesn’t worry about mistakes as long as you’re playing hard. He gives you a lot of rope to do what you have to do and play your game.”

As for the final three games of the regular season, Meeks hopes to see the team end on a high note to end the season.

“Collectively as a group, we want to finish strong,” he said. “You can accomplish something every game. For the most part, we want to go out, not give up and keep playing hard. We have a good opportunity the last game at home to try and come out with a good mindset and try to get that win.”

Lakers-Warriors Postgame Numbers

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles LakersWe broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 112-95 loss against Golden State:

Plus-rating for David Lee in his return to the Warriors lineup after a seven-game absence (hamstring). Lee posted his 34th double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench.

Double-doubles for Jordan Hill this year as he scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. While Pau Gasol (vertigo) and Chris Kaman (calf) continued to be sidelined, Hill is averaging 16.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 1.2 steals in April.

Game-losing streak snapped by the Warriors in Los Angeles with the win. In the process, Golden State won the series for the first time since the 1994-95 season.

Triple-doubles for Stephen Curry this season after recording 30 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. Curry became the first Warrior to have at least four triple-doubles in a season since Wilt Chamberlain had five in 1962-63.

Three-pointers for Steve Blake towards 13 points, his highest scoring game as a Golden State Warrior. Blake also added five rebounds, five assists and two steals in 30 minutes.

Thursday Practice Report

ts_140410farmar670Injuries have been a recurring theme all year long for the Lakers, and with four games remaining in the regular season, the return of Pau Gasol remains uncertain. Gasol has missed the last four games – eight of the last nine – because of vertigo and is being listed as doubtful for Friday’s game vs. Golden State.

“He’ll play if he can, but he has to be medically cleared,” D’Antoni said of Gasol’s status. “He and Gary (Vitti) will come to me if he can go, but I don’t think it’s clear right now whether he can go or not.”

Aside from Gasol, Steve Nash is also being listed as doubtful. Nash passed Mark Jackson for third all-time in assists in NBA history vs. Houston, but aggravated his nerve root irritation issues in the process. Nash said after the game that he doubts he’ll be able to return to action in the final four games.

Chris Kaman is still out with a calf injury, and Kobe Bryant, Xavier Henry and Kent Bazemore have respectively been ruled out for the season. In total, the Lakers have missed 292 games due to injury/illness this season.

“I think the guys are going to play hard regardless,” Kaman said. “We’ve had some games where we’ve been in it and we’ve been really close lately. I think you’re going to see us battle the rest of the year.”

Although the Lakers have been hampered by numerous injuries, they did get Jordan Farmar back vs. Houston on Tuesday. Farmar had missed the last 11 games because of a strained groin and has also suffered hamstring tears on two separate occasions earlier in the season. He scored 15 points and dished out eight assists in his return, to go along with five boards, three steals and two blocks.

“I thought he played well,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He gives us a guy who can really score and puts a lot of heat on the defense.”

On the year, Farmar has been particularly efficient from beyond the arc as he currently ranks fourth in the NBA in three-point field-goal percentage at 45.8, trailing Kyle Korver (47.8), Pablo Prigioni (46.3) and Anthony Morrow (46.1). That mark would be a career high, besting his 44.0 clip set during the 2011-12 season in New Jersey.

Lakers-Rockets Postgame Numbers

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles LakersWe broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 145-130 loss against Houston:

Career assists for Steve Nash, placing him third all-time in NBA history. With a feed to Jodie Meeks for a dunk in transition, Nash moved past Mark Jackson (10,334) on the assists list and now trails only John Stockton (15,086) and Jason Kidd (12,091).

Fastbreak points for the Lakers, a season high. They are averaging 23.4 fastbreak points per game over the last seven contests, an increase from 14.0 through the first 71 games.

Points apiece for Terrence Jones and James Harden. Jones had 23 by halftime to help pace Houston in the first half, while Harden put up 18 of the Rockets 49 in the third quarter when the visitors blew the game open. The two combined to shoot 23 for 33 from the floor (69.7 percent), and Harden also fell one assist shy of his career high.

Minutes for Jordan Farmar after missing the previous 11 games because of a strained groin. Farmar posted 15 points, eight assists, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks off the bench. “I feel good,” Farmar said postgame. “No setbacks, nothing to worry about, just disappointed in our performance. But other than that, physically I feel fine.”

Three-pointers for Nick Young towards a team-high 32 points in just 23 minutes due to foul trouble. In the last 11 games, Young is shooting 44.7 percent from beyond the arc and averaging 3.5 three-point makes per contest.

Nash Now Third in All-Time Assists

nash_graphicAt the 2:13 mark of the second quarter, Steve Nash fed Jodie Meeks for a dunk in transition to give him career assist number 10,335, passing Mark Jackson (10,334) and placing him third all-time in NBA history.

He played 13 minutes off the bench, recorded three points, five assists and three rebounds. Nash now trails only John Stockton (15,806) and Jason Kidd (12,091) on the career assists list.

R. Kelly Performing R. Kelly

140407_kellyAs part of his rookie duties, Ryan Kelly gave his own rendition of R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” at the Lakers Annual Celebrity Golf Invitational and Dinner.

I see you Rook! @ryankelly34

After his basketball career is over, who thinks he can be the next American Idol?

Injury Update: Farmar, Gasol, Kaman and Nash

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles LakersLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemHere’s an update on several Lakers who missed Sunday’s game in advance of Tuesday’s matchup with Houston.

Lakers-Clippers Postgame Numbers

Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles ClippersWe broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 120-97 loss against LAC:

Percentage of field goals made by the Clippers as six players finished in double figures. In the third quarter, the home team made 13 of 21 shots (61.9 percent), including 7 of 12 three-pointers, to push their lead out of halftime to 94-72 heading to the final frame.

Points for Jordan Hill, to go along with nine boards and two steals. In the last three games with Chris Kaman (calf) and Pau Gasol (vertigo) out, Hill has averaged 18.0 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks on 51.3 percent field goals.

Double-doubles for Kendall Marshall this season, after scoring 10 points and dishing out 11 assists. With most of their point guards and playmakers out because of injury, plus Kent Bazemore exiting early, Marshall logged a team-high 43 minutes.

Minutes for Bazemore before going down with a foot injury early in the second quarter. X-rays came back negative on his foot, but Bazemore will have an MRI on Monday to determine the severity of it.

Three-pointers made for Chris Paul without a miss. Paul finished with 23 points, six assists, four boards and three steals in just 28 minutes. “He is extremely talented,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “You could argue he’s the best point guard. He’s always made his teams better and he’s shooting the ball better now from two’s and three’s. He’s just a good basketball player.”

Injury Update: Kent Bazemore

Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles ClippersLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health System