Ty Lawson #3 of the Denver Nuggets drives past Steve Nash #10 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 6, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The Nuggets won 112-105.
Well, Lakers fans, let’s just be honest. It is not looking good for Tuesday’s match up against the Rockets.
Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Jordan Hill are all out injured. Robert Sacre is likely starting for the “Super Team.” Antawn Jamison will be a factor. Even Earl Clark may get some time off the bench. Devin Ebanks is a scorer, so he may be asked to lend a helping hand off th bench.
However, this game falls into the experienced hands of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. That duo has to direct the troops and lead the charge.
Part One: Steve Nash
Even with backcourt general Steve Nash back, the Lakers are not exactly crushing teams. Heck, they’re not even winning anymore. However, Nash has been surprisingly stable since coming back. As previously predicted, he is shooting about 50 percent from the field: 56.9 percent.
From three-point land, he is averaging 47.1 percent following two months on the sidelines. Yes, Steve Nash has shot about as well as everyone expected, if not better. He’s also averaging over 10 assists since suddenly turning up for the overtime win in Golden State on Dec. 22.
Offensively, Nash has been as good as advertised.
He is one of the best point guards to ever play the game. Entering Tuesday’s game at 9,995 career assists, Nash should hit the 10,000 mark around halftime on Tuesday. When he does, he will join a special club that only includes John Stockton, Jason Kidd, Mark Jackson, and Earvin Magic Johnson. At 10 assists per game, Nash should catch Magic easily this season.
Nash’s average of 3.0 turnovers per game since returning is right in line with his career average of 2.9 and down from last season’s 3.7 turnovers per game. For comparison’s sake, he still has a better assist-to-turnover ratio than Chris Paul this season. By the way, this memory of Kobe dunking on Chris Paul will never get old.
Defensively, the Lakers were bad without Nash; they’re significantly worse with him.
Defensively, he’s a serious liability. The Canadian has looked all of his 38 years. The poor guy was never a great defender, and it doesn’t get any easier as he gets older.
With James Harden and Jeremy Lin looking to attack the rim for Houston, Nash should have his hands full on the perimeter. Unfortunately, the Lakers expect to be repeatedly reminded that both their starting big men are out injured. However, some youth in the form of Sacre and Clark may provide the energy and youth the Lakers have been lacking all season.
Tuesday night in Houston is Sacre night.