Archive for the 'Players' Category

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Injury Update: Gasol, Henry and Nash

ts_140324xavierhenry670Lakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemPau Gasol, who did not play the second half vs. Orlando because of dizziness and nausea, is being considered doubtful for Tuesday’s game vs. New York.

Should Gasol not be able to play tomorrow, coach Mike D’Antoni said Chris Kaman would start in his place.

Henry Expected to Play Through Pain


Another Laker who is battling an injury of his own is Xavier Henry, who injured his left wrist on a fall during the third quarter vs. Washington. Henry maintains he will play through the pain, however.

“I was going to play anyway,” Henry said. “The good news is it’s (torn). I feel like with that mindset, I can’t do too much worse to it, so now it’s just go out there and be myself.”

The Kansas product said he feels discomfort, regardless of whether he’s on the court or not, but believes there is no reason to sit out as long as he can tolerate it.

“(I feel pain) all day,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if I have the ball or if I don’t. It hurts. If I can play with it, I’m going to play.”

Nash’s Return Questionable
Steve Nash, who returned vs. Washington after being sidelined the previous 15 games, also did not suit up on Sunday.

He has played in 11 games overall this year, battling the same nerve issues since last year after fracturing his lower leg in the second game at Portland on Halloween.

“We’ll check and see tomorrow, but probably doubtful at this time just to be cautious,” D’Antoni said. “He worked out on his own (today). He said he’s feeling better, but doesn’t know. He’ll push a little bit tomorrow morning and then we’ll make a decision.”

Injury Update: Pau Gasol

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles LakersLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemPau Gasol did not play the second half of the Lakers-Magic game because of dizziness and nausea. According to team spokesman John Black, Gasol received three liters of IV fluid and spent the night in the hospital for precautionary observation.

“He was dizzy in the first half, went back in the dressing room, came back, finished the half,” coach Mike D’Antoni said postgame. “They were trying to give him an IV and he was real dizzy and he couldn’t go.”

Prior to Sunday’s game, Gasol had posted four double-doubles in the last five games, and was averaging 20.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, plus 1.7 blocks in March.

An update on Gasol’s condition will be given sometime on Monday.

Injury Update: Xavier Henry

Washington Wizards v Los Angeles LakersLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemXavier Henry, who injured his left wrist in Friday’s game vs. Washington, underwent an MRI and the results showed a torn ligament. He will be examined by a hand specialist on Monday and an estimated timetable for his return will be given at that time.

Earlier at Saturday’s practice, coach Mike D’Antoni believed Henry to be a game-time decision for Sunday’s game vs. Orlando, pending the MRI results.

Henry played 23 minutes on Friday and recorded 12 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals. He was coming off one of his best games of the season vs. San Antonio when he poured in a team-high 24 points.

The Kansas product had previously missed almost two months with a bone bruise and an abnormality of the lateral meniscus before returning at Portland on Mar. 3.

Sacre’s Defensive Impact

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles LakersTrailing 22-13 at the 5:18 mark of the first quarter, coach Mike D’Antoni inserted Robert Sacre, Xavier Henry and Kent Bazemore into the game.

That trio single-handedly sparked a Lakers rally and cut what was once an 11-point deficit to just a single point by halftime. In 11 first-half minutes, the Sacre-Henry-Bazemore group finished as a plus-11 and combined for 29 points (19 from Henry), 13 rebounds, six assists and three steals.

“Sacre is a big energy guy, always someone you can rely on to give you confidence to help you out and just being a good teammate,” Nick Young said. “To see him out there and all the hard work he put in – getting shots (up) and film after practice – you love to see a guy like that blossom.”

Come the fourth quarter, D’Antoni played Henry and Bazemore the entire 12 minutes, while Sacre was paired with Pau Gasol down the stretch. In 26 minutes off the bench, the big man from Gonzaga grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds, while anchoring the Lakers defense down low.

“He definitely came in and changed the complexion right off the bat,” D’Antoni said. “That’s what we kind of look at, not individual stats. On a bad team, somebody has to score 20 points, so who cares? But he came in, changed the complexion, picked up our defense, energy and talking and did a lot of good things.”

In the second quarter, the Spurs were limited to 35.7 percent field goals and 23 points, after 35 points and a 58.3 percent mark in the opening frame. Much of that was attributed to Sacre’s presence defensively. Even alongside Gasol, D’Antoni liked that pairing up front enough to where the coaching staff will look to use that combo more down the stretch of the season.

“We saw it in practice the other day,” D’Antoni said. “Robert has improved enough to where we can still score with those two bigs on the floor and our defense does pick up. It’s something we’ll try going forward with.”

Young Poised to Return

Los Angeles Lakers v Miami HeatHaving completed a week’s worth of practices without a setback of the injured left knee that’s kept Nick Young out of 16 of the last 17 games, the swing man is expected to return for Friday night’s game against Washington.

“I’ll be out there against the Wizards,” said Young after Thursday’s practice. “I’ve been waiting. It’s tough to sit in the back and watch these games. I’ve been wanting to get out there from the time the second half of the season started.”

Young suffered a non-displaced fracture of the patella and a bone bruise after hyperextending his knee at Cleveland on Feb. 5. He returned to play 20 minutes off the bench against Brooklyn on Feb. 23, but has been out since after experiencing further soreness.

Mike D’Antoni said Young will return to his role off the bench, but tempered expectations for Friday evening.

“It depends on him,” said the coach. “You never know. He could be rusty, he could be rusty the third game, the first game, the second game, the second half, who knows. You just play it by ear and as long as he’s playing well, then he’ll stay on the floor. If not, then we’ll sub him in and out. It’s good to get him back and good to get him back in the flow.”

D’Antoni suggested that Jordan Hill could also be available to use against the Wizards, but will see how his knee responds to Thursday’s practice at Friday’s shootaround.

Young, who ranks second on the team in scoring at 16.8 points per game (Pau Gasol, 17.8), appears good to go.

“I’m feeling good,” he said. “I had a couple days to get a couple practices in and test it out and see how I feel out there.”

Gasol’s Production Inside Rising

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio SpursPrior to missing seven games in February with a groin injury, Pau Gasol had put together one of his best stretches of basketball this season in January.

He averaged 20.8 points, 11.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.7 blocks, while shooting 51.0 percent from the floor. This included a streak of 20-plus points in 10 straight games as well as 11 double-doubles.

And his offensive play has continued over the last month.

Post All-Star break, Gasol’s production – particularly his scoring inside the paint – has noticeably gone up; he is converting at a much higher rate closer to the rim (from five feet and in).

Pre All-Star break: 125 for 210, (59.5 percent).
Post All-Star break: 60 for 87, (69.0 percent).
*Stats courtesy of NBA.com/stats.

Below is a look at Gasol’s shot chart post All-Star break:
gasol_post_allstarbreak

From October to January, Gasol shot 46.6 percent from the floor, but in 12 games since the All-Star break, Gasol has made 53.3 percent of his field goals, in large part because of his efficiency from inside.

“The rhythm as to where he gets the ball, when he gets the ball and how he gets the ball, gets better as you go through the season,” assistant coach Dan D’Antoni told Lakers.com. “As the lineup has kind of solidified in the last two or three weeks, I think Pau is a little more comfortable where the spacing is with these players, and as he finds it, his talents are extraordinary, and he’s going to put up huge numbers.”

Lakers Injury Update: March 17

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio SpursThe Lakers received some unfortunate injury news during Monday’s practice in El Segundo, where Jordan Farmar strained his right groin, adding to what’s already the league’s highest injury total for one team in years:

LAKERS GAMES MISSED TO INJURY:
Kobe Bryant: 60
Steve Nash: 54
Jordan Farmar: 30
Xavier Henry: 27
Steve Blake: 26
Nick Young: 16
Pau Gasol: 10
Chris Kaman: 6
Jordan Hill: 6
Jodie Meeks: 5
Wesley Johnson: 1
TOTAL: 241

Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles LakersPrior to Monday’s practice, it looked like the Lakers were on the verge of getting a couple of healthy bodies back in the short term: both Nick Young (knee) and Jordan Hill (also knee) returned to the court.

Young has played in just one of the last 17 games (20 minutes on Feb. 23 vs. BKN), while Hill’s been out since Feb. 28. Neither was cleared for full participation in a potential 5-on-5 scrimmage setting, however, so a potential return for Wednesday’s game against San Antonio is uncertain.

What’s less certain is the availability of Farmar, according to the information team spokesman John Black relayed on Monday afternoon:

Jordan Farmar suffered a right groin strain today in practice. He will see Dr. Podesta either later this afternoon or tomorrow morning and we will have an update on his condition and how long he will be out after he sees Dr. Podesta.

It’s no doubt a frustrating setback for Farmar. The point guard has shown flashes of excellent basketball this season, but has now been interrupted by injury on three separate occasions. First came a tear of his left hamstring on Dec. 1 that kept him out until Dec. 31, when he tore a different part of the hamstring.

He dropped eight three pointers in his return against Cleveland on Feb. 5, but re-aggravated the hamstring in the process. His latest return came on Feb. 19, and he’s averaged 12.7 points and 4.0 assists on 46.3 percent field goals and 48.4 percent from three in 22.6 minutes per game while splitting time with Kendall Marshall.

Stay tuned for more news on the groin, and how long it will keep him on the shelf.

Particularly if Farmar misses a few games or more, don’t rule out a potential return to the court for Steve Nash, who has continuing to work on his nerve root issues to stay ready should he be needed.

Pau at Indian Wells

It’s rare to have multiple off-days in a row during the NBA season, but Pau Gasol took advantage of a scheduling quirk that left the Lakers idle from Sunday-Thursday. With Coach D’Antoni giving the players Monday and Tuesday off, Gasol headed two hours east to see fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal compete at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, CA.



Unfortunately, Gasol’s recent hot-streak (six straight games with 20 or more points) didn’t rub off as Nadal fell 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-5) to the Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov. Afterwards the countrymen were able to catch up over dinner.

Inside the Digital Sphere of Meeks’ Performance

Teammates showin’ some love to Jodie Meeks after a career-high 42 points and a victory over the best team (record wise) in the West.

Meeks’ Career Day Leads Lakers to Victory

meeks42With the Lakers trailing Oklahoma City 65-53 with 8:59 left in the third quarter of Sunday’s game, Jodie Meeks drained the first of his four three-pointers in the quarter 16 seconds later. He followed that up with a reverse layup, a steal and then another three-pointer.

By the end of the quarter, Meeks had outscored OKC 20 to 19 by himself, and keyed L.A.’s turnaround that allowed them to take an 87-75 lead heading to the fourth. The Lakers would eventually hold on to defeat the Thunder 114-110, in large part due to Meeks’ career performance.

“I got to the free throw line in the second half to get me going and knocked down a couple shots,” Meeks said, “That’s really all it takes when you’re in a rhythm like that.”

Meeks finished with a career-high 42 points – 24 in the second half – on 11 of 16 field goals, 6 of 11 three-pointers and 14 of 14 free throws. It was the most points scored by a Laker since Kobe Bryant tallied 47 points at Portland on Apr. 10, 2013. The 40-point outing was also the first by a Laker other than Bryant since Andrew Bynum scored 42 at Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 21, 2009.

*Below is a shot chart of Meeks’ efficiency from the floor against Oklahoma City, courtesy of NBA.com/stats.
meeks_thunder

More than just his offensive output, Meeks guarded Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook on the defensive end for much of the night and helped force him into a 7 for 23 shooting night (2 of 10 on three-pointers) plus eight turnovers.

“Defensively he was out of sight and on Russell Westbrook the whole time,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He put out a lot of energy this game, but he has been doing it on a pretty consistent basis.”

This season, Meeks is averaging career highs across the board in points (14.8), rebounds (2.6), assists (1.7), steals (1.3), field-goal percentage (46.3), three-point field goal percentage (39.9) and minutes (32.7). In particular, he is converting at a higher rate at the rim: 60.7 percent from less than five feet compared to 50.4 percent in 2012-13, according to NBA.com/stats.

Since the All-Star break, Meeks has upped his production further, averaging 19.1 points on 51.4 percent field goals. He’s shot at least 50.0 percent in seven of 11 games, including an 8 for 8 performance against Sacramento on Feb. 28.

*Below is a shot chart of his efficiency from the floor since the All-Star break, courtesy of NBA.com/stats.
meeks_post_allstarbreak

“Jodie has been our most consistent performer,” D’Antoni said. “He is just playing well. It’s really fun to watch someone get better and he has improved. Jodie comes to work every day and does what he needs to do. He had a great summer working hard on his game and you really feel good about guys like that.”