On Sunday afternoon, Chris Kaman came out with a point to prove, Steve Nash could not complete the game and the Los Angeles Lakers lost 92-86 at home to the Chicago Bulls.
The Lakers came out playing hard but could not buy a bucket early in the game. After two minutes, the Lakers and Bulls were both scoreless. Then, the Bulls got hot, and the Lakers did not. Four minutes into the game, the Lakers still had no points, and Chicago had opened up a 10-point lead.
So, naturally, the oldest man in the NBA decided to make the Lakers competitive. Steve Nash stepped out of a timeout and assisted on the Lakers’ first basket before scoring their next six points.
The Lakers would close to within five points in the second quarter, as Chris Kaman came to life. Kaman had 14 points in the first half, but the Lakers still trailed by six at the break.
Next, the Lakers continued their horrendous record of failing to show up in third quarters. On this occasion, the Lakers were outscored 25-16 in the dreaded third period. Suddenly, a competitive six-point contest transformed into a 15-point game that seemed out of reach given the injuries and lack of offensive talent.
Considering these Lakers cannot get through a practice, let alone a game, without suffering an injury, news that Nash had suffered a collision in the third quarter and would not return was hardly surprising. Nash said he apparently collided in the same spot as his leg break from 2012, and he was suffering some nerve irritation. As a precaution, Nash did not return to the game.
“I hope tomorrow I can wake up and jump right back into it,” Nash said optimistically after the game. “Hopefully, I’ll be better when I wake up.”
Without Nash in the game or on the sidelines, the Lakers clawed back into the game in the fourth quarter. Another 10 points from Kaman in the final 12 minutes helped the Lakers close within four points twice, but a questionable whistle and an errant bounce pass sealed the game for Chicago.
“I felt comfortable the last couple games and I wanted to assert myself, especially on the offensive end,” Kaman said after the game.
Kaman admitted he was frustrated with the lack of consistent playing time, but he said he was trying to be professional about the situation. His 27 points and 10 rebounds made a convincing argument, but Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni addressed the issue after the game.
“When Pau comes back, it’s tough,” D’Antoni said when asked if Kaman will now get more time regularly. “Get ready to write a nice article and kill me.”