Less than a couple miles from the dark cloud of the LAX shooting, the Los Angeles Lakers met for a morning practice session to prepare for the visiting San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.
Steve Nash practiced and confirmed he would be starting in the Lakers’ second home game of the season. The 39-year-old revealed that sitting out Wednesday’s loss to the Golden State Warriors was Mike D’Antoni’s idea, and the Canadian humbly obliged.
“I feel good enough right now to play and contribute,” Nash said on Friday morning. “[Sitting against Golden State] wasn’t my decision. I was ready to play, but coach wants to be conservative and think about the long haul.”
“[D’Antoni] kind of convinced me to stick with his plan,” Nash said about sitting in Oakland.
Pau Gasol was also at practice, but he was under the weather with a cold. Gasol was showing symptoms after the loss in Oakland, and Friday morning proved that the cold had progressed. Still, Gasol is expected to start against the Spurs.
Gasol’s opposite, Tim Duncan, was ruled out of Friday’s game at Staples Center with a chest contusion. Duncan suffered the injury during Thursday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Grizzlies guard Tony Allen connected with the 37-year-old Duncan, and the future Hall-of-Famer went into the locker room and did not reemerge for the remainder of Thursday’s contest.
For the Lakers, Duncan not playing is a lucky break.
Boris Diaw is expected to step in for the injured Duncan. Diaw was previously a member of the Phoenix Suns when D’Antoni was the coach and Nash was the point guard. Both current Lakers spoke highly of Diaw’s basketball mind, but Duncan’s absence has to be welcomed news for LA.
D’Antoni hinted that he would continue with starting Shawne Williams but did not rule out the possibility of starting Chris Kaman in the future.
“I still like the floor being spread,” D’Antoni said about starting Williams instead of Kaman.
“I’m not discounting it. We’ll have to keep revisiting, but it’s a little early to say ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ right now,” the coach responded when asked about switching the lineup and starting Kaman.
The Lakers host the Spurs on Friday night at Staples Center at 7:30pm PST.