On a cold Thursday morning, the Los Angeles Lakers met for morning shootaround in Milwaukee, Wisconsin ahead of their evening game against the hometown Milwaukee Bucks.
As is customary this season, the Lakers needed to count heads and update the injured list on the morning of the game. Although Steve Nash was present, he anticipated being out for about another week. Nash has been able to warm up prior to games and perform work on his own, but he has been altogether unable get himself in a good enough spot to return to the floor.
Nash was surprisingly called upon once Jordan Farmar went down injured. With the trade of Steve Blake, the Lakers were down to one point guard: Kendall Marshall. Nash came off the bench for the first time in 14 years, and the Canadian wowed fans with 11 assists in 19 minutes against the Washington Wizards.
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Without Nash, the Lakers expect Xavier Henry, Kent Bazemore and Jodie Meeks to chip in time at the backup point guard position. In the last couple games, Bazemore has adjusted to the role and looked to be more of a distributor. In each of the last two wins, the 24-year-old has put up at least five assists. Against Orlando, Bazemore finished with a career-high eight assists.
With Henry and Nick Young hot recently, Bazemore has displayed enough intelligence to pass the ball to the hot hand, and that type of team-first attitude highlighted the Lakers’ last two wins.
Chris Kaman, who started against the New York Knicks on Tuesday, did not travel with the team due to personal reasons. Kaman was expected to join the team before tip-off, but his starting spot was in jeopardy. The 10-year veteran finished with 13 points and nine rebounds in 23 minutes against the Knicks.
Kaman is earning playing time due to Pau Gasol’s recent case of vertigo. Gasol did not travel with the team, and the upcoming back-to-back may be Kaman’s only chance to see time on the floor for the remainder of the season. Prior to his appearance against the Knicks, Kaman had not played in any of the Lakers’ previous 10 games.
Also worth mentioning, the Bucks are the worst team in the NBA. Milwaukee has lost eight in a row and only has 13 wins in 71 games. Worth keeping in mind, however, one of those 13 wins came against the Lakers. Still, the Lakers should be good enough to win their third in a row, which would tie their longest winning streak of the season.
Tip-off for the Lakers at the Bucks is 5 pm Pacific Time.