Archive for the 'Steve Nash' Category

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Lakers on Christmas Day

- In 1947, the NBA played its first games on Christmas Day (3 total) and including this year’s slate of games, the league has seen a total of 222 Christmas Day games in all.

- The Lakers relationship with Christmas Day games dates back to 1949 and the team’s second season in the NBA. On December 25, 1949, the Lakers hosted Ft. Wayne,
defeating the Pistons 72-58 in the team’s first ever Christmas day game.

- Now in their 65th NBA season, the Lakers have played on Christmas Day 38 times, second only to the New York Knicks (47), going 20-18 in those games.

- With 20 victories, the Lakers trail New York by two for most Christmas Day victories by a team in league history. Overall, the Lakers are 12-9 all-time when home for the holidays while going 8-9 in away games.

- This will be the Lakers 14th straight Christmas Day game dating back to 1999.

- Among Christmas Day opponents, Phoenix (6), Detroit (5), Boston (4) and Miami (4) top the list of teams the Lakers have faced on December 25th.

- Surprisingly, despite the Knicks and Lakers being the two teams that have played the most Christmas Day games in league history, this is just the second time the two teams will have met on Christmas Day. In their only other meeting, the Lakers traveled to New York on Christmas Day in 1963, defeating the Knicks 134-126 behind 47 points from Jerry West and 27 points from Elgin Baylor.

- This Christmas, Kobe Bryant will be playing in his record 15th game on December 25th, further surpassing the old mark of 13 games held by Earl Monroe, Shaquille O’Neal and Dolph Schayes. Bryant (349 points) ranks 2nd all-time in Christmas Day points scored behind Oscar Robertson (377 points).

- Additionally, Bryant ranks 2nd in assists (81) on Christmas Day behind Robertson (145), ranks 4th in steals with 15 and is tied for 2nd in three-point field goals made (11) along with LeBron James and teammate Steve Nash (trailing Chauncey Billups (13)).

- Nash also ranks 13th in assists per game (8.4) on Christmas Day while Dwight Howard ranks 10th in rebounds per game (15.3), 3rd in blocks per game (3.50) and 3rd in all-time total blocks (14) on Christmas.

Injury Update: Nash Practices Fully

For the first time since suffering a non-displaced fracture to his lower left leg on Oct. 31, Steve Nash competed in a full practice, including a 5-on-5 full-contact scrimmage, on Thursday afternoon.

So … when will he play in a game?

“I think Christmas is probably the most realistic,” Nash said, revealing that his leg felt “good” in practice but suggesting he needs to see how it responds before drawing a conclusion.

The Lakers have only one game before Tuesday’s X-Mas contest with the New York Knicks, a Saturday tilt at Golden State, and Nash said it’s “possible” he’d return to that game. Yet he won’t really know until he sees how the leg feels tomorrow, and furthermore how it responds at shootaround on Saturday.

If all goes well, he could make the start against the Warriors, but it is more likely he’d wait until Tuesday’s contest. Regardless, his coach couldn’t have been happier to see him on the practice court.

“Whatever day he returns will be Christmas,” said Mike D’Antoni. “He looked good, real good. You never know how he wakes up. The first step was good and positive, he looks good on the floor, he said he felt good. We’ll wait till tomorrow to see if he can do it again and just build on it from there.”

Nash has cautioned that when he returns, his engine isn’t going to be revving at full speed, since he simply hasn’t had the chance to get into basketball game shape. But D’Antoni isn’t too worried about that, either.

“He’s got a pretty good motor,” said D’Antoni. “It will be maybe depend a lot on that, but he looked good out there – just as good as the rest of the guys. He wasn’t huffing and puffing that much.”

To reiterate, we’ll have to see how Nash feels after Friday’s practice. But for now, it’s certainly good news for the Lakers that he made it through a full-contact practice no worse for wear.

Dec. 17 Injury Update: Steve Nash

It was expected to have Pau Gasol practice on Monday with his teammates, but seeing Steve Nash out there as well was a bit of a surprise.

The veteran point guard – who’s been out since Halloween – participated in a full practice, though the Lakers did not scrimmage or go through full-court contact drills. Nonetheless, being on the court left him feeling fairly optimistic, as he hopes to return from the non-displaced fracture in his left leg sooner than later.

“Hopefully I can play by Christmas,” said Nash. “We’ll see how it responds this week. Today we didn’t do any 5-on-5 or contact.”

While seeing how things go as the week goes on is an unknown, Nash said he’s definitely noticed progress of late.

“(My leg has) responded pretty well,” he explained. “I’ve been able to do some jogging, some running, some 1-on-1. Today was the first day actually getting up and down the floor a little bit even though we didn’t (scrimmage). It’s definitely sore, and definitely going to be a process not just to get back to complete health but also get in shape.”

Contact practice is the next step, but he’ll definitely be out of the team’s game against Charlotte on Tuesday and very likely miss Saturday’s game at Oakland.

The Christmas Day game, against New York, is eight days away, on Tuesday.

Nash Nearing Return?

The Lakers are starting to see some light at the end of the Steve Nash Injury Tunnel, leading Mike D’Antoni to say there’s a chance his point guard returns to the court at some point during the team’s coming four-game road trip.

“I think it’s possible,” said the coach. “I wouldn’t put my reputation on it, but, it’s possible*.”
*At that night’s game against Utah, D’Antoni changed his tune a bit, saying he was mostly thinking wishfully, and that Nash would not likely play on the road trip.

Nash, who suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left leg on Oct. 31 at Portland, won’t play in Sunday’s game against Utah at Staples Center.

Nobody is more eager for the Canadian’s return than D’Antoni, who seemed to be trying not to get himself too excited, at least until his PG is actually on the floor.

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.

Three Lakers in Top 15 Most Popular Jerseys

The NBA released it’s list of most popular jerseys and three Lakers found their way into the top 15. Kobe Bryant, a stalwart of this list, came in at number three, while newcomers Dwight Howard and Steve Nash ranked #9 & #13 respectively.

Top 15 Most Popular NBA Jerseys:

1. LeBron James, Miami Heat
2. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
3. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
4. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
5. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
6. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
7. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
8. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
9. Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers
10. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
11. Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets
12. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
13. Steve Nash, Los Angeles Lakers
14. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
15. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

(Rankings based on sales from the NBA Store and NBAStore.com from April 2012 through Nov. 26, 2012)

-Since 2001, Bryant has claimed the No. 1 position six times in the bi-annual survey.
-The Lakers were the only team to place three players on the list.
-The purple and gold ranked third in team merchandise sold.

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.

Nash Out Another Week

During L.A.’s Friday evening game against Steve Nash’s former team, we learned that Nash would miss at least another week while recovering from the non-displaced fracture in his left leg originally suffered on Halloween at Portland.

Nash will miss games against Houston and Brooklyn, and at Sacramento, Memphis and Dallas, before being re-evaluated once again by Dr. Steve Lombardo.

It’s the same update we received last week, and Nash admitted his frustration as he just can’t tough out an injury of that kind to get on the floor. Of course, the big picture concern for the Lakers is that Nash be fully healthy as the season goes on, so the team certainly can’t rush his return.

Steve Nash Injury Update

Steve Nash will miss at least one more week due to a small non-displaced fracture in the head of his fibula originally suffered on Oct. 31 in a Lakers loss at Portland.

Nash was examined by team doctor Steve Lombardo on Friday evening during the team’s win over Golden State, with the determination being made that he’d miss home games against Sacramento, San Antonio and Phoenix.

The 2-time MVP point guard has been going through individual drills with player development coach Phil Handy, but needs more time for his leg to heal before resuming contact drills with his teammates.

He’ll be re-evaluated at the end of the week.

Nash “Doubtful” for Clippers

Steve Nash is listed as “doubtful” to face the Clippers on Friday night after suffering a lower leg contusion at Portland on Halloween, but he didn’t rule himself out entirely.

“We’ll see how it goes, see how it calms down some more, but I couldn’t tell from this point,” he said after Thursday’s practice. “Maybe I’m too optimistic to say ‘doubtful,’ but it’s definitely tough.”

It was the second time in two weeks a young point guard collided with Nash in the backcourt. On Oct. 21, Kings rookie Isaiah Thomas stepped on Nash’s ankle, but the Canadian bounced back to return to practice the next day. At Portland 10 days later, rookie Damien Lillard accidentally drove his knee into Nash’s lower leg in the second quarter, causing the contusion.

Fortunately for Nash and the Lakers, it’s nothing worse than a painful bruise.

“Luckily it’s not any major structurally or something,” said the two-time MVP. “It’s just a contusion in that area.”

After emerging from the visitor’s locker room at the Rose Garden with a yellow protective sleeve over his lower leg, Nash gave it a go to start the third quarter, but he lasted just over a minute, unable to move laterally.

“By the time I got off the training table, there was almost no time on the clock to warm up, so I ran out there and took a couple shots,” he explained. “But I didn’t have time to test it laterally and as soon as I tried to make a lateral movement, it just gave out on me. I thought I was going to be able to finish the game, but it just wasn’t ready last night.”

He’s more frustrated than anything else.

“To take a knock like that, this time you want to be out there fighting and trying to scrape a win,” he concluded. “It’s frustrating, but sometimes you need to take a deep breath and think the big picture, and play with the hand you’re dealt.”

Nash will be re-evaluated on a daily basis as he and the training staff try to determine when he can get back on the court.

UPDATE FROM SHOOTAROUND:
Mike Brown answered a few questions about Nash’s status after Friday’s shootaround, calling him a “game time decision” but suggesting the point guard was a long shot to play.

“It doesn’t look good, but (the training staff) hasn’t ruled him out yet,” he said.