Archive for the 'Steve Blake' Category

Page 2 of 4

Steve Blake: 2013 Exit Interview

13exits_BlakeSteve Blake started 13 games and appeared in 45 towards averages of 7.3 points, 3.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds. He shot 42.1 percent on three-pointers, which ranked 13th in the NBA. He missed 37 games due to an abdominal injury upon which he had surgery.

Blake averaged 14.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in two playoff games against San Antonio before straining his hamstring late in Game 2.

Below is a summary of his exit interview:

- Blake said he was pleased with the way he played despite all the injuries, including to himself, which really undercut the season and made things disappointing. He, like all his teammates, wishes they’d have a better opportunity were they able to compete when healthy. “At the end of each year it’s really frustrating. One of the main reasons I came here was because I wanted to win a championship. My experience here has been great, but I love it here in L.A., I love my teammates and the opportunities I’ve had here.”

- Blake on Steve Nash: “I loved playing with Steve. He’s one of those point guards everybody wants to play with. He’s going to find you if you’re open. I really enjoyed watching him and trying to learn how he runs pick and rolls, and see him do the things he did. It really helped me out to have a better year.”

- Blake said he felt like he fits really well into Mike D’Antoni’s system, but recognized how it needed to change with L.A.’s roster. “I think it could definitely work. 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.”

- On his play with both Bryant and Nash out with injuries: “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. 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.”

Watch every exit interview on our Exit Interview Central

Murphy’s Law Injury Season Continues

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs - Game TwoLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemThings seemed bad enough from an injury standpoint with Kobe Bryant watching losses in Games 1 and 2 from his home in Orange County as his backcourt partner Steve Nash hobbled/battled his way through nerve issues in his back/hip/hamstring.

But in a season in which nearly everything has gone wrong from an injury standpoint, we learned on Friday that Steve Blake would be out indefinitely with a moderate hamstring strain, while Nash and Jodie Meeks (sprained left ankle) are doubtful for Friday’s Game 3.

Blake had an ultrasound on Friday to confirm the hamstring strain; Meeks had an MRI on his ankle; and Nash received two epidural injections in his back, in addition to a cortisone shot in his right hip.

Mike D’Antoni said that Nash is the more likely between he and Meeks to be able to play, but both are unlikely to see the floor.

As such, the Lakers would be without their top four guards, with 2011 second round picks Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock (the recently called-up 2012-13 D-League MVP) and Chris Duhon remaining to try and hold the fort.

Morris will likely start at point guard, charged with defending Tony Parker, which Blake did exceptionally well in the first two games. Parker did manage to explode for 15 of his 28 points in the third quarter of Game 2, hitting 9 of 20 shots and 9 of 10 free throws, after 18 points on 8 of 21 field goals in Game 1.

Goudelock may get the nod at off guard, his ability to create his own shot and knock down open threes coveted, with Duhon backing up both spots.

INJURY MONSTER (bug doesn’t cut it)
In the regular season, the Lakers lost 81 games to starters, and 171 overall, with almost every key rotation player missing at least four games:

- Steve Nash: lower left leg fracture (24 games); right hamstring/hip issues (8 games)
- Kobe Bryant: sprained left ankle (2 games); torn left Achilles tendon (2 games)
- Metta World Peace: torn lateral meniscus in left knee (6 games)
- Pau Gasol: tendinitis in both knees (8 games); concussion (5 games); torn plantar fascia in right foot (20 games)
- Dwight Howard: torn labrum in right shoulder (6 games)
- Jordan Hill: left hip injury (53 games)
- Steve Blake: abdominal injury (37 games)

Add in two missed playoff games for Bryant, one for Hill and Jodie Meeks plus the potential for four guards out for Game 3, and things have gone beyond ridiculous. A qualifier is the team’s collective age, making injuries more likely, but even head athletic trainer Gary Vitti said he’s never seen anything like this season from an injury perspective.

For comparison’s sake, here’s how three other Western teams have fared on the injury front from a games missed standpoint:

Lakers: 171 total, 81 starting five
Spurs: 86 total, 50 starting five
Clippers: 86 total, 17 starting five*
Thunder: 12 total, seven starting five
*Chauncey Billups also missed 60 games

Pretty rough for the purple and gold, to say the least, particularly as the Spurs, Clippers and Thunder have all gotten their key players back for the postseason.

Injury Update: Blake Progressing

Lakers backup point guard Steve Blake, who underwent surgery on Dec. 5 to repair a torn abdominal muscle, continued to ramp things up in his rehab on Saturday, going through a scrimmage with teammates after practice and also doing some running on his own, according to coach Mike D’Antoni.

“He’s going to play pretty soon,” D’Antoni said. “I don’t know when that is, but he’s working his way back. Every day will be a test for him. If he keeps passing those barriers, you’ll see him soon.”

Earlier this week on Thursday, the Maryland product was cleared for 2-on-2 workouts.

Prior to surgery, Blake developed complications along his abductor, and even after the procedure and during rehab, he developed more complications. The training staff and team doctor Steve Lombardo had been monitoring Blake’s progress after he received a PRP (platelet rich plasma) injection on Jan. 11.

The Lakers first-year coach hinted at the possibility of him playing as early as Tuesday against New Orleans.

“I think he’s got a shot,” he said. “Now that’s me talking, but he’s got a shot.”

Injury Update: Steve Blake

Lakers backup point guard Steve Blake was originally diagnosed with an abdominal strain on Nov. 12. He said he first injured the muscle against Detroit on Nov. 4, but re-aggravated it on Nov. 11 against Sacramento.

During this period, Blake developed complications to his abductor, located closer to the groin muscle, according to team doctor Steve Lombardo. He received a platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection, yet continued to have symptoms. At that time, surgery was recommended by Dr. Craig Smith.

He underwent surgery on Dec. 5 to repair the torn abdominal muscle and was expected to be out approximately 6-8 weeks.

“It’s not a typical basketball injury,” Lombardo said. “Shaq (O’Neal) had a minor variant of it, but we had him better over a six-week period. Most players will get better with conservative measures. In my tenure with the team, this is my first time a player needed surgery.”

After surgery and during rehab, Blake still experienced more pain along the abductor, and received another PRP injection on Friday, Jan. 11.

“It hasn’t responded well to that yet,” Blake said after practice on Wednesday. “But the doctors said it’d take a week or two to kick in. I’m hoping that’ll work.”

Lombardo maintains the original tear along the rectus abdominus (abs) that Blake has “symptomatically improved” from it. The other muscle, the abductor, is where Blake is experiencing complications.

The training staff will continue to monitor Blake and his progress. If he does not improve, Lombardo said Blake will see Smith, and Dr. Bill Brown, a hernia specialist, to assess whether anything else needs to be done.

“My initial injury was a small tear on my lower abdominal muscle,” Blake explained. “When you have a sports hernia like that, the abductor muscle in your groins work with the abdominal muscles, so I fixed the one area and didn’t realize I was in that much pain for the other problem, until I fixed the other one. It was unfortunate.”

Lakers Missing Their PG’s

It’s not often that a team loses not just its first, but also second string point guard at the same time.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, that’s been the case since backup Steve Blake aggravated a strained abdominal injury on Nov. 11 against Sacramento that he said he originally injured against Detroit on Nov. 4, one that will keep him out for at least two more weeks, per a team press release:

Lakers guard Steve Blake was examined today by Dr. Steven Yoon and had an MRI exam. The exam confirmed that Blake still has an abdominal strain. As a result, he will be out at least another two weeks. Blake was originally diagnosed with the abdominal strain on November 12 and has missed the last eight games with the injury.

Blake’s injury came on top of the loss of starter Steve Nash, who suffered a non-displaced fracture to his lower left leg on Halloween night at Portland. Team spokesman John Black said that Nash would be out at least for the team’s games against Denver (Friday) and Orlando (Sunday).

Nash has already be sidelined for L.A.’s last 13 games, and Blake eight. It’s the most games Nash has missed since the 1999-2000 season, when he played in 56 of 82. While Nash and Blake recover, 2011 second round pick Darius Morris getting the starts and Chris Duhon – who came over from Orlando in the Dwight Howard trade – are getting the backup to the backup minutes.

The Lakers have played .500 basketball since (4-4) with Morris and Duhon playing well in certain aspects and struggling in others. They deserve some credit for holding down the fort, the youngster using his bigger body to play solid defense and finish through traffic at the rim, and the veteran hitting 39 percent of his three-pointers. Morris is averaging 6.4 poings, 2.4 assists and 1.77 turnovers in 23 minutes per game, and Duhon 2.8, 2.3 and 0.55 in his 16.9 minutes.

But Morris doesn’t have the play making experience at the NBA level to really get the Lakers rolling in an offense most of the team is still learning, leaving much of that responsibility to Kobe Bryant. That takes its toll on Bryant, who’s been brilliant at times (see: at Dallas) doing so but focused on his primary strength in others (see: vs. Indiana).

All the while, Nash and Blake are watching in street clothes.

Nash is the guy who has literally run coach Mike D’Antoni’s system better than anybody in the world, and a guy whose teams have really struggled to win when he’s been out. In fact: Nash missed only four games last season, Phoenix going 1-3; in 2010-11, Phoenix went 1-6 without him. D’Antoni recalled that, when he was in Phoenix, “we never won without him.”

Indeed, D’Antoni hasn’t tried to hide the fact that he absolutely thinks things will change with his former Suns captain taking the court. After a loss at the buzzer to Indiana, D’Antoni said he’s “banking on it,” referencing both Nash and Blake. He’s a bigger fan of Blake’s than you might have known.

“I’ve been trying to get him for 10 years,” said D’Antoni at his introductory press conference. “We always tried to get him I think he’s perfect for our system.”

The Lakers can’t complain too much, not with Bryant, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol on the floor. But if you believe D’Antoni, there’s no question that it’s going to be a different looking team when Nash and Blake return, especially on the offensive end.

Injury Update: The Steves

Lakers point guards Steve Blake (seven) and Steve Nash (12) have now missed a combined 19 games, a trend that will continue at least through Tuesday’s contest against Indiana.

The last official team update on Nash came on Nov. 16, stating that he’d be out one more week, to be re-evaluated by Dr. Steve Lombardo. The team had discussed sending Nash for an MRI on Monday, but ultimately decided against it. Alternatively, Nash will increase his activity level slightly to include agility drills and jogging – he’d previously been doing cardio on an elliptical machine.

Head athletic trainer Gary Vitti and his staff will monitor Nash’s work outs, and continue to evaluate him on a daily basis as they determine when he’s ready to return to practice, and eventually games.

Blake, meanwhile, has improved from the abdominal strain he aggravated against Sacramento on Nov. 11, but not to the point that he’s ready to resume practicing. He’s listed as day-to-day, and will be continually evaluated.

The Lakers have made it clear that they want both point guards for the long haul. Coach Mike D’Antoni suggested after Monday’s practice that he’d far prefer having both guys able to go through the rest of the games upon returning, as opposed to coming back too quickly and re-injuring themselves.

In the meantime, Darius Morris and Chris Duhon have both been effective: Morris utilizing his athleticism on defense and in transition; and Duhon knocking down 50 percent of his field goals, 46.7 percent of his threes and initiating the offense he learned under D’Antoni in New York.

Furthermore, Kobe Bryant has taken on additional ballhandling duties, particularly in screen/roll sets, which has been very effective for L.A.’s offense. He’s eager to get back to his role of primary scorer once Nash and Blake return, but said he’s quite comfortable filling in where needed in the meantime.

Blake, Morris Stepping Up in Nash’s Absence

During the preseason, coach Mike Brown stated what he wanted from his backup point guard.

“I’m looking for a guy that’s going to come in and keep us organized and try to work the ball,” Brown explained after a practice in late October. “I’m looking for someone with energy and someone who’s going to get it right defensively, and keep us organized offensively. If you have the ability to make plays, do it without turning the ball over because you’re not going to be out there a whole lot of time.”

The second-year Lakers coach acknowledged that much, but with an injury to Steve Nash, Brown was forced to shuffle his rotation just four games into the early season, inserting Steve Blake into the starting lineup and Darius Morris as the backup.

In the team’s first win against Detroit, Blake recorded six assists and tied a career-high with five steals.

Morris also chipped in with six points and two assists off the bench, helping lead a second unit that produced 27 bench points.

Brown noted the play of both point guards stepping up in Nash’s absence.

“The two guys we’re playing right now in (Steve) Blake and (Darius) Morris – they got some of the best feet in the league at that spot, so they’re going to have to get up and work the ball,” explained Brown. “Not to get steals, but to see if we can take some time off the clock and try to disjoint our opponent just a little bit – and both guys did that perfectly (against Detroit).”

The Lakers forced the Pistons into 17 turnovers, while limiting them to just 35.4 percent shooting. Detroit’s starting backcourt of Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight also shot a combined 1 for 14.

“We just tried to pick up defensively and put pressure on the guards, and we made good reads,” said Blake. “Overall we had a good performance.”

Brown echoed similar sentiments regarding both guard’s play on the defensive end.

“I thought (Blake and Morris) were up the floor most of the night, turning the basketball and doing their jobs defensively,” he said.

The offense has looked better, too, according to Brown, even with the absence of the team’s two-time MVP point guard. The Lakers shot 50 and 51.9 percent, respectively, against the Clippers and Pistons, while also scoring a season-high 108 points, and turning the ball over just 15 times versus Detroit – a season low.

“Everyone was more patient,” explained Blake. “We executed the offense, we got the ball inside and our spacing was much better. There were a lot of times the first couple games, guys were rushing into things, which happens with a new offense. But we’ll get more comfortable and better at that.”

With Nash expected to be sidelined for at least a week, the team understands what they need from their floor generals in his absence.

“We just need our point guards to be solid, aggressive, defend and make plays for others,” explained Gasol.

As Brown sees it, both Blake and Morris are doing exactly that.

Injury Update: Blake Ready to Practice

Lakers backup point guard Steve Blake, who suffered a puncture wound to his left foot on Sept. 24, has been cleared to practice fully on Thursday.

According to team spokesman John Black, there will be no restrictions on Blake. The University of Maryland product was expected to miss at least three weeks, but will have been out only 10 days.

Blake told us at media day that he was planning on returning earlier than expected, and will prove himself right on the third day of camp.

Steve Blake: 2012 Exit Interview

Steve Blake played in 53 regular season games, missing 13 due to a January rib injury, towards averages of 5.2 points on 37.7 percent field goals and 33.5 percent three-pointers with 3.3 assists in 23.3 minutes per contest.

He stepped up his play in the postseason, regularly closing games for the Lakers while playing 25.5 minutes per game for 6.3 points, 2.3 assists and 2.2 boards on 41.9 percent shooting and 41.9 percent from three.

Below is a summary of his exit interview:

- On not having a full camp or practice time hurt the team: “More time definitely would have helped us out, maybe (allowed us to) figure out certain areas of the game to make us better. But you can’t blame (our not winning) on that. I do think having a longer camp next year, us being with this coaching staff and getting more comfortable with them, always will help you.”

- On growing with his teammates to the point where he was finishing games in the postseason: “Over time you get more comfortable with your teammates, you figure each other out, and for me I as definitely much more comfortable throughout the season and the playoffs. I really loved playing with everybody and enjoyed it, and look forward to coming back and doing it again.”

- Blake was asked about his general outlook after playing better individually, but turned it into a team answer: “It’s tough to be too positive, because we lost.”

- On if he wants to start: “I’m at the point of my career where I really just want to do what’s best for the team” … whether that’s starting or coming off the bench.” He said the focus is on “us,” not him.

- Blake said he didn’t let praise or criticism affect him during the season, especially in the playoffs, in which he hit one game-winning shot and missed a potential game winner in another game, getting praise and vitriol in equal parts.

- Blake said he’ll likely be in L.A. until late June, then go back home to Portland, take a few weeks off and get back to work “getting better in every area of the game.”

- Blake’s frustrated having not won the title when expecting to by coming to Los Angeles, having won in both high school and college, but doesn’t think that chance is over.

- On his exit meeting: Mike Brown and Mitch Kupchak were mostly positive in their meeting, Blake said. He said they wanted him to perhaps be more aggressive and more selfish at times, but that doesn’t flow with the natural way he wants to play so much. “I think I’ll always try to make the team better with passing and knowing the game.”

Steve Blake Back in Action?

Lakers reserve point guard Steve Blake, who hasn’t played in a game since suffering a costochaondral fracture (fracture of the cartilage that connects the rib to the sternum) on Jan. 11, practiced with the team on Wednesday in Boston for the first time.

Blake said he would like to play in the team’s Thursday evening game against Boston, but is officially a game time decision.

The second-year Laker was in a nice rhythm just before getting injured, and while he acknowledged that it will take him some time to get that back, the team is well aware of how valuable it will be to have Blake back on the floor.

In 12 games prior to the injury, Blake was averaging 7.3 points per game (fourth behind Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol) with 2.8 assists to 1.08 turnovers in 24.3 minutes.