Archive for the 'Steve Blake' Category

Injury Update: Xavier Henry

140212xavierhenry500Lakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemXavier Henry will have his right knee drained of fluid today and receive a cortisone shot. He is expected to be out approximately four weeks.

Henry originally injured the knee on Dec. 29 vs. Philly. He has been sidelined for the team’s last 21 games, although he has been working out on his own and with some of the Lakers training staff.

Steve Blake, who hyperextended his elbow vs. Utah, expects to play on Thursday vs. Oklahoma City. Steve Nash (nerve root irritation), who did not play in the second half of Tuesday’s game, plans to sit out.

Blake Leads Lakers in Wild Win at Cleveland

Steve Blake had yet to make a field goal through seven quarters since returning from an elbow injury. He had repeatedly mentioned soreness in the injured area post practice leading up to the road trip. Then he ruptured his right ear drum at Minnesota, after taking an elbow from a Wolves player. He still finished the game, though, with six assists and three steals, and maintained he’d be fine going forward.

Postgame, Blake acknowledged this about shooting the ball: “It can be a little difficult to get quick shots off at the three, so I just have to pick my spots and go from there.”

At Cleveland, with the Cavs whittling the Lakers once 28-point advantage to single digits, he picked the right spots to shoot.

He stepped into two three-pointers and swished both down the stretch to help L.A. hold off a late Cavs rally. Blake recorded his second career triple-double with 11 points, 15 assists and 10 boards, to go along with three steals in 40 minutes.

“When Steve Blake comes back, the whole atmosphere changes,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “Last year, that was the guy that came back that got us on our run last year. He comes back now, and makes the two daggers at the end of the game. He makes a big difference. He plays hard, with grit, determination and he doesn’t back down on anybody.”

Blake’s return, along with Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar, has given the team a more fluid rhythm on offense with their ability to penetrate and create. Over the last two games, the Lakers are shooting 48.3 percent from the three-point line (28 of 58). At Cleveland, L.A. set a franchise record for a regulation game with 18 three-pointers made. Below is a shot chart of their efficiency from beyond the arc over the first two games of the road trip.

blog_140206_lakers_threes

Prior to Blake’s injury, the Lakers had reeled off a 10-9 record, in large part due to his play directing the offense. He had recorded four straight games of double-digit assists, marking the first time in his career he had done so.

Nash, Blake to Start at Minnesota

152063099NG_Kings_Lkrs_016aBoth Steve Nash and Steve Blake will return to the lineup and start at Minnesota, according to Los Angeles Times Lakers beat writer Mike Bresnahan.

Nash, who has been sidelined since Nov. 10 with nerve root irritation, has appeared in just six games this year and will be on a minutes restriction tonight, according to ESPNLA’s Dave McMenamin.

He spent the duration of the Grammy road trip in Vancouver working with his personal trainer and physical therapist and acknowledged he made significant progress during that time.

“I can withstand more demands – more contact, more unpredictable factors, change of direction – playing against somebody,” Nash explained on Thursday post practice. “That was something the nerve and spine couldn’t handle two weeks ago.”

Blake, meanwhile, has missed the last 26 games with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He had started all 21 games prior to his injury, averaging 9.8 points, 7.7 assists and 3.3 rebounds.

Post practice on Monday, the Maryland product stated he is still feeling some pain in his elbow shooting from long range, but is anxious to get back on the court with his teammates.

Lakers Point Guards Nearing Return

ts_140203blake670Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar all participated in a second straight practice on Monday before the Lakers departed for their three-game road trip.

“They’re all good,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I think they’re all ready to go. There’s a possibility all three could play (at Minnesota).”

Blake addressed the media post practice and did not explicitly state he’d suit up at Minnesota, but acknowledged he’s felt much better with two consecutive days of practice.

“We’ll see,” he said. “I felt pretty good today. We’ll see how I feel when I wake up and go from there.”

Blake had averaged 9.8 points and 7.7 assists prior to injury, including a stretch of four straight games of at least 10 dimes. The Maryland product has been sidelined eight-plus weeks with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Farmar, who has been out of action for one-month plus, echoed similar sentiments regarding his imminent return.

“I’m not sure about tomorrow,” Farmar said. “We’ll see. I’m available if they allow me (to play).”

Kobe Bryant (knee) and Pau Gasol (groin) will not accompany the team on the road, instead staying back in Los Angeles to rehab. As for who will replace Gasol in the starting unit, the coaching staff again remained mum about naming a definitive starter.

Chris Kaman has started a total of five games this season (11.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 46.4 percent field goals), most recently two games in late December while Gasol dealt with an upper respiratory infection. The 7-footer, however, has not seen extended game action in more than two-plus weeks.

“I’m just trying to be patient and take advantage of the opportunities I’m given,” Kaman said. “I’ve done this long enough to know what I need to do. Just let the game feel itself cause it’s going to be moving fast. You just have to try to make adjustments as it goes and be patient.”

Nash, Blake and Farmar Return to Practice

ts_140130stevenash670Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar all participated in practice and went through 5-on-5 full court scrimmages on Thursday, but the three have been ruled out for Friday’s game vs. Charlotte.

It was a welcomed sight for the coaching staff to see those three out on the hardwood again.

“It lets us do a lot more things and obviously getting Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar and Steve Nash on the floor is going to help the quality of basketball,” coach Mike D’Antoni said.

Return dates for the trio, however, are up in the air and are varying to certain degrees.

“I just want to take it day by day and the fact I got through one practice is a positive,” Nash said. “This is the hardest thing I have ever faced in my career. Since the broken leg, nothing has been the same, nothing has been easy.”

While he was working/rehabbing with his trainer and physical therapist in Vancouver, Nash believes he progressed significantly in the last two weeks.

“I can get up and down first of all,” Nash explained. “I can withstand more demands – more contact, more unpredictable factors, change of direction – playing against somebody. That was something the nerve and spine couldn’t handle two weeks ago.”

Blake was non-committal about a possible return, but like both his backcourt teammates, is taking a day-by-day approach.

“I still have a little bit of issues to work through right now,” Blake said. “Shooting from long range is a little bit difficult right now. The ball feels heavy. There’s still pain when I shoot. Those are the things I need to work through. Everything else feels great.”

Farmar said he is trying to take a cautious approach to see how the hamstring responds. He suffered a tear in his left hamstring in a different area just four games after returning the first time. Now he says he can gradually work his way back as opposed to starting and playing 30-35 minutes upon coming back.

“Just take it day by day,” Farmar explained. “If I do something like this tomorrow, if there’s any tightness or soreness, really keep an eye on it and don’t overdo it. Maybe take a step back – ice, treatment, stuff like that. Just really paying attention to it day by day.”

Pau Gasol, meanwhile, did not practice and is still nursing a sore groin. He confirmed post practice that he is “probable” for Friday’s game. He did, however, acknowledge it feels much better today as opposed to after halftime during Tuesday’s contest vs. Indiana.

“It started happening on the road trip, but it was mild and manageable,” Gasol said. “The Indiana game was much, much worse and hard to bear, but I was able to finish the game off and play till the end.”

For the fifth straight game, the 7-foot Spaniard recorded a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double. In the month of January, he is averaging 20.6 points, 12.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.6 blocks on 50.9 percent field goals.

Injury Update: Bryant, Nash, Blake, Farmar, Henry and Meeks

ts_140127steveblake670Lakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemUpon returning from their seven-game, 12-day road trip, the Lakers received plenty of news on the injury front after practice on Monday.

According to team spokesman, John Black, everything “went well” for Steve Nash in Vancouver while working with his trainer/physical therapist during the team’s 12-day road trip. Nash was expected to go through practice on Monday, but unrelatedly “tweaked his back,” and thus, did not participate.

“The plan for him is to have a practice on Thursday and he’s basically day-to-day,” Black said. “We’ll update you on whether he’ll play Friday based on how Thursday’s practice goes.”

Nash has been sidelined since Nov. 12 with nerve root irritation. Coach Mike D’Antoni remains hopeful the two-time MVP can return to the court again this season.

“I hope so,” D’Antoni said. “I hope for him. If anybody can do it, he can.”
Both Steve Blake (elbow) and Jordan Farmar (hamstring) have not been cleared for full practices yet, but are able to participate in basketball-related activities, as the two went through today.

“They’ll continue to ramp up through the week as they progress,” Black said. “Neither will play Tuesday or Friday, but the plan on them is to ramp up practices this week and we’ll update both of them at the end of this week.”

Blake was diagnosed with a torn collateral ligament in his right elbow and has been out since Dec. 13. Farmar, meanwhile, has been out since Jan. 3 after suffering a tear in his left hamstring. The UCLA product hurt the same hamstring earlier in the year, but this tear was in a different location. Post practice, Farmar was pleased to just get back on the court with his teammates.

“It was great,” he said. “I’ve been bored. That’s been the hardest thing. With this injury, you don’t feel too injured. It’s not painful; you don’t feel hurt. Just having to sit down, be patient and wait your turn, especially seeing them struggle, I just want to be out there and contribute.”

Xavier Henry (knee strain) went through some on-court work in Miami and was expected to be out another 10-14 days, but visited with a doctor today. There is no new update regarding his injury.

Both Pau Gasol (toe) and Jodie Meeks (foot) did not practice on Monday, but both are expected to play on Tuesday against Indiana.

Lakers Injury Update from Miami

Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix SunsLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemHealthy bodies have been quite difficult to find on the court for the Lakers this season, and that trend continued at Wednesday’s session in Miami in which Mike D’Antoni didn’t have enough guys available to play 5-on-5.

Available (nine): Kendall Marshall, Jodie Meeks, Wesley Johnson, Ryan Kelly, Nick Young, Manny Harris, Jordan Hill, Robert Sacre, Chris Kaman
Unavailable (six): Pau Gasol (foot), Xavier Henry (knee), Jordan Farmar (hamstring), Steve Blake (elbow), Kobe Bryant (knee fracture), Steve Nash (nerve root irritation)

Gasol is the one player off the latter list who will play against the Heat on Thursday evening, as an open wound on his left foot won’t keep him out of game action, despite making it a bit painful to run, jump and cut.

Here’s the update on the Lakers who remain on the shelf:

XAVIER HENRY:
Henry did some running, lateral slide drills and shooting, but did not participate in practice with his teammates on Wednesday. He said he’s progressed from where he was last week with a knee strain suffered on Dec. 29, which has caused him to miss 11 games thus far. Henry has been ruled out of Thursday’s game in Miami and Friday’s in Orlando. He’ll be evaluated over the weekend.

KOBE BRYANT:
Bryant is expected to be evaluated when the team returns to Los Angeles on either Monday, Jan. 27., or Tuesday the 28th. Bryant said that he expected to get an MRI in “February,” but that could apparently come a few days prior to the change of month. Kobe’s been keeping in cardio shape by doing work on a stationary bike, but needs the knee fracture to fully heal before he can resume basketball activities. That said, Bryant has made it clear in respective media sessions in Boston and Chicago that he fully plans on returning as soon as he’s physically able.

STEVE NASH:
Nash has been with his personal physical therapist/trainer working out in Vancouver, trying to improve daily so that he can test out the back, hamstring and nerve root issues that have plagued him this season. He’ll be re-evaluated by the Lakers when the team returns from the road trip just as Bryant is.

STEVE BLAKE:
Originally diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow that would take a minimum of six weeks, Blake will visit with his doctor in Los Angeles when the team returns, and a potential return date may be established at the time. One can speculate that it’s going to be a bit longer, as the key word in the original timetable was “minimum.”

JORDAN FARMAR:
Farmar tore his left hamstring in a different spot from an original tear in early December on Dec. 31, and was given a four-week timetable until re-evaluation, which could come at the beginning of February. Don’t be surprised if it’s a couple of weeks after that until Farmar hits the game floor.

Injury Update: Steve Blake

blakeLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemWith Steve Nash (root nerve irritation) and Jordan Farmar (hamstring) already nursing various ailments, Steve Blake was the latest in line to be hit with the injury bug. He was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow after undergoing an MRI before Thursday’s practice, and is expected to be out a minimum of six weeks.

“I’m disappointed,” Blake said after Thursday’s practice. “It’s not something I wanted to go through right now, but crazy things happen. You have to try and stay positive. It’s a long season. I’ll eventually be back, and try to finish strong.”

Blake originally hurt the elbow in the second half of the team’s road contest at Washington on Nov. 26. In six games since, he was shooting just 34.6 percent field goals and 28.1 percent on three-pointers compared to 40.7 percent from the floor and 46.0 percent from the three-point line prior to injury.

“How tough is Steve Blake?,” Kobe Bryant said. “He’s played with it since D.C. He played phenomenally well with it. That’s incredible.”

Pau Gasol echoed similar sentiments.

“Playing through that elbow injury was incredible with what he’s been able to do,” he said. “He didn’t really take a practice off.”

On the year, Blake had been averaging a team-high 31.5 minutes, to go along with 9.8 points and 7.7 assists. He was shooting 40.0 percent from distance and ranked 20th in the league in three-point field goals made (40). The Maryland product had also recorded nine double-digit assist games, including a 16-assist outing against Detroit that tied his career-high.

“He’s worked so hard and he plays so hard,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “It’s really a testament to his courage and toughness. He practiced left-handed, but then he would play right-handed. We’ll have to close ranks and get it done.”

More than just missing Blake orchestrating the offense, Bryant realizes they’ll miss his presence on the defensive side of the ball.

“Steve’s really tough, really tough,” Bryant said. “He’s really solid defensively. He does a great job of staying in front of point guards. We have some adjustments to make. We have our work cut out for us.”

Blake’s 3-Point Efficiency

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs - Game OneA year ago, Steve Blake recorded the second-lowest shooting clip of his career from beyond the arc at 33.5 percent … but after a terrific shooting season in 2012-13, it proved to be an abnormality.

Particularly in the last month of the season, the 6-foot-3 combo guard caught fire from distance.

For the year, Blake shot 42.1 percent from deep, which tied for 13th in the NBA.

Injuries to key rotation players thrust Blake into playing more minutes, and a greater role on the offensive end (11.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists from March 13-April 17). During the last half of March, he averaged nearly 31 minutes with Kobe Bryant (sprained ankle) and Metta World Peace (torn meniscus) sitting out a combined five games. In April, that figure increased to 39 minutes, with Blake starting at point guard in the final eight regular-season contests with Steve Nash (hamstring/hip/back issues) sidelined.

In a 17-game span from March 13-April 17, he drilled 45 of 103 three-pointers, a 43.7 clip.

Below is a breakdown and a shot chart of his attempts from various parts of the perimeter:
- Left corner three-pointer: 6 for 23 (26.1 percent)
- Right corner three-pointer: 10 for 15 (66.7 percent)
- Above the break three-pointer: 29 for 64 (45.3 percent)

Steve_Blake_Three-Pointers
*All information used is courtesy of NBA.com/stats.

Steve Blake Stepped Up

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs - Game TwoAmong the few positive revelations amidst L.A.’s season flush with injuries was the late emergence of backup point guard Steve Blake, who – before even his season ended in injury – showed himself capable of carrying a heavy load in April.

A hamstring strain kept Blake from playing in Games 3 and 4 of L.A.’s first round loss to San Antonio, and an abdominal injury and subsequent surgery limited him to 45 regular season games, but his play down the stretch was critical in getting the Lakers into the playoffs.

Steve Nash missed the final eight games of the regular season, and Kobe Bryant the final two games in addition to the playoffs, leaving Blake to shoulder a vastly increased load in the backcourt.

“Towards the end of the year, I got to really show some of the other abilities I haven’t shown while I’ve been here,” said Blake in his exit interview. “There’s so much talent here and not a lot of shots to go around. With Kobe out and Nash being hurt, someone had to take those shots and be ready to step up.”

In the regular season’s final two games against San Antonio and Houston, L.A.’s playoff fortunes hanging in the balance and its Hall of Fame backcourt in street clothes, Blake did this: 23.5 ppg; 6 rpg; 5.5 apg; 1 spg; 8 three-pointers made. The Lakers won both games, jumping into the playoffs as the No. 7 seed, avoiding becoming just the third Lakers team since the late Dr. Jerry Buss bought the team in 1979 to miss the postseason.

That’s how Blake capped a strong April in which he averaged 12.6 points, 5.3 boards, 4.0 assists and 1.0 steals. Furthermore, coach Mike D’Antoni repeatedly pointed out that Blake was his best perimeter defender, both on and off the ball.

Having undoubtedly proven his worth, Blake hopes to play a key role next season, particularly now that D’Antoni has had a chance to see what he has in players like Blake.

“I think it could definitely work,” Blake concluded. “I’m not exactly sure what the personnel is going to be, but if we had a whole summer, I think coach (D’Antoni) could figure out exactly what works best. We definitely have the talent. That’s what the summer time is for.”