Injured player Steve Nash #10 of the Los Angeles Lakers greets Pau Gasol #16. On Friday, Nash was back at practice, and he appeared optimistic in playing on Sunday, when the Lakers open the playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs.
Friday’s Lakers practice was mayhem.
Before doors to the practice court opened, media flowed out of the press room to such as extent that the Toyota Center staff brought out chairs for reporters to sit in the hallway. Seemingly, everyone who had access to a media credential in Los Angeles was at the Lakers practice facility in El Segundo on Friday.
“Be there by noon,” the voice on the phone had said earlier in the morning.
Well, it was a half hour past noon before anyone was allowed into the practice facility.
As the media was allowed to enter, the Lakers were scrimmaging five-on-five in the half court. Practice was full-contact, and Steve Nash was playing on the first team.
Nash was back.
He was hitting floaters and moving well. Considering it was a full-contact scrimmage, the media was allowed to witness it, and Nash made it through without issue, Nash should be considered probable for Sunday’s series opener against the San Antonio Spurs. Steve Blake and Nash are the likely starters.
Nash said he still needed time to see how his hamstring and hip reacted to the practice, but he was cautiously optimistic he would be ready for Game One on Sunday.
Another surprising face in the scrimmage was Jordan Hill. Hill was not expected to play against San Antonio, but the Lakers power forward was well ahead of schedule after undergoing season-ending hip surgery in late January. If the Lakers make it past the first round, Hill would be a welcomed big body for the Lakers.
With Hill and Nash back at practice, the entire Lakers roster was visible save for Kobe Bryant.
Dwight Howard shared that he had organized a team dinner for Friday night ahead of the playoffs. While he would not reveal what he intended to say at the dinner, Howard did say that he had previously organized team dinners in Orlando under the same circumstances.
In 2009, Howard said he brought his Beijing 2008 gold medal to explain to his Magic teammates that individual stars had sacrificed themselves for the greater team effort. That season, his Magic team made it to the NBA Finals, and that message seemed just as relevant and fresh four years later.
As Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni concluded the post-practice media session, the thermometer read nearly 80 degrees in El Segundo. Seemingly, the world order had been restored.
The Lakers were in the playoffs, and it was beach weather in Southern California.