When Steve Nash left the game with a left shin contusion, the Lakers were down by 6 with 10:44 to go in the 3rd quarter. The Lakers had 13 turnovers in the 1st half, so they were hardly taking care of the ball even with Nash on the floor.
However, when the 38 year-old point guard failed in his attempt to play the 2nd half, the Lakers panicked. Suddenly, this year’s Super team looked and felt an awful lot like last season’s underachieving group.
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With Steve Blake at the point, the Lakers again had a giant gaping hole at the point guard position. They struggled to score and repeatedly forced the ball to Kobe—often, late in the shot clock.
By the time the game was over, the Lakers had 24 turnovers. Bryant had a game-high 7 of them.
After Nash went down, Kobe tried to fill the void and become the playmaking guard the Lakers desperately needed last season. Last season, however, proved that Kobe was not that player. It was hard to blame Kobe for trying to do too much, but Kobe ended up giving the ball away 5 times in the 2nd half.
The Nash-less Lakers effectively lost the game in the 3rd quarter by giving up 30 points to the home side in the period. The Laker defense was dismal on the night, as Portland put up 92 points through three quarters.
With LA’s offense sputtering to a halt after the half, the halftime deficit of 5 was suddenly turned into 16 points entering the fourth quarter. The final score would show a 10 point loss, but the game was never really in reach in the final period.
Mike Brown’s team can take a few positives from the game, though. Kobe shot at a good percentage for the second game in a row. Bryant put up 30 points on 10-20 shooting.
Even better, Dwight Howard led all scorers with 33 points and shot an impressive 15-19 from the free-throw line. The purple and gold shot 50% from field as a team and out-rebounded Portland by a significant margin: 45-30.
With some concrete positives to work off, Mike Brown will hope Steve Nash can return, and his team can get a win sooner rather than later.
Or else, this may not be his team for much longer. 0-2 is okay, but a loss to the Clippers and 0-3 would put the coach under serious pressure.