Steve Nash #10 of the Los Angeles Lakers returned to the floor for the first time since November on Feb. 4, 2014
Steve Nash returned to the Los Angeles Lakers, but ultimately, nothing changed. The Lakers lost, and that loss came on the defensive end. This time, it was to the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Lakers only gave up 109 points.
Considering the horrific defense that allowed 38 points in the first quarter and trailed by 25 points in the second quarter, LA played a solid second half to only lose 109-99.
For the Timberwolves, Kevin Love and Kevin Martin combined for 63 points. The entire Lakers’ starting lineup combined for 27 points, underlining the gap in talent.
For the Lakers, Nick Young and Manny Harris led the offensive charge off the bench. Young repeatedly got himself to the charity stripe, and 13 of his 24 points came off free throws.
For Harris, the occasion was far more momentous. The Lakers had informed Harris prior to the game that he would not be signed following the conclusion of his second 10-day contract with the Lakers. In his last guaranteed outing as a Laker, Harris scored 19 points on 8-11 shooting. On top of all that, Harris also pulled down eight rebounds. Since his arrival, Harris has displayed hunger and ability that should land him on an NBA roster sooner rather than later.
Ultimately, though, the night whould be remembered as Nash’s return. He looked good. Going well above the 12-16 minutes expected, Nash had seven points, nine assists and only two turnovers in 25 minutes of play. He played the first three quarters before sitting out the fourth.
Nash is expected to sit out Wednesday’s game in Cleveland, and so, Jordan Farmar should make his return on the second night of the back-to-back. Farmar dressed for Tuesday’s loss, but he did not log any minutes.
Nash was not alone, as Steve Blake also returned to the team and the starting lineup. Blake’s return was far less memorable, though. Clearly still bothered by his ailing left elbow, Blake only attempted two shots and played 32 scoreless minutes. However, Blake’s six assists, five rebounds and three steals were a reminder that Blake was not entirely anonymous. However, his hesitation to shoot 3-pointers was apparent.
These days, positive Lakers’ injury news would not make sense if it was not balanced by bad Lakers’ injury news. Jodie Meeks came down on an ankle within 90 seconds of the opening tip. After the game, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said he did not expect Meeks back for the remainder of the three-game road trip but added that X-rays came back negative on Meeks' sprained ankle.
Also, Jordan Hill took an accidental elbow to the head and left the game. He did not return, but the coach explained that was due in part to the NBA’s strict rules regarding concussions. Hill’s return is questionable for Wednesday’s game.
Nash was back, but the Lakers failed to snap the losing streak. After Tuesday, the losing streak is up to seven straight games. In Cleveland, the Lakers will look to avoid no. 8.