Prior to hopping onto a flight to San Antonio, the Los Angeles Lakers held practice on a sunny Saturday morning in El Segundo.
Far removed from Friday’s media frenzy, only a handful of reporters met with sweat-drenched players at the Lakers practice facility.
Before the players were paid any attention, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni started the session. So, Mike, Will Steve Nash play?
“Yesterday, [he] felt good, and it looked good today. We didn’t go a whole lot. But we’ll see what his stamina is and how long he can go.” D’Antoni finished, “But he’ll go.”
Nash being back seemed like yesterday’s news, but still, that was a massive structural and rotational alteration to the Lakers makeup. If healthy, Nash can help create, shoot threes, and knock down big shots in the fourth quarter. However, he does hurt the Lakers as a one-on-one defender and slows the foot speed of a team that was constantly exploited in transition defense.
“He’s got to coach this team to win the game, and if I’m not helping and I’m not capable, he’s got to get me out,” Nash said emphatically. “There’s no time to be sentimental.”
The 39-year-old said he ran full court in practice, and he felt confident about being a positive contributor.
Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol also addressed the media, and both spoke about game-related topics like dominating the inside, matching up against Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter, and the importance of winning Game 1 (See:Lakers Spurs Video Preview).
Another surprise was Jordan Hill also went through a full court workout with the team. Even if Hill is not available for Sunday’s game, he may well be available for Wednesday’s game if he is genuinely able to run up and down the court. Hill would provide the Lakers with a fully active roster minus Kobe Bryant.
After landing in Texas, Howard and Metta World Peace were photographed at the Alamo Dome, where the Spurs previously played for nearly a decade. The pair of physically imposing Lakers was visible ringside to watch a highly touted boxing match between Canelo Alvarez and Austin Trout.
Hopefully Howard and World Peace were taking notes because Sunday at 12:30 pm PT, the bell for Round 1 rings with the Lakers considered heavy underdogs to the San Antonio Spurs.