I don’t know if it’s just me, but that fact seems to cast a pall of depression over the Lakers.
Think about it. Here’s is the oldest player in the league desperately needed by his team in order to have a sniffing chance of a win. When able to play, the most indelible image of him is lying down near the bench to rest his aching back. I can’t say this bodes well for a team’s fortunes.
To add to the disappointment, the Lakers only had eight other players other than Nash to play against the Philadelphia 76ers. Nick Young is out with a non-displaced fracture of the patella and a bone bruise on his left knee. He’s out a minimum of two weeks. Jordan Farmar was out again. Pau Gasol has a groin injury. Xavier Henry is hurt. Jodie Meeks is out.
You get the picture.
Despite all of this, fortune did give a wink at the Lakers tonight: the schedule had them playing the Sixers. The woeful Sixers. The 15-35 Sixers. Sure, that record isn’t as bad as the Lakers 17-32, but there are very few teams out there the Lakers can boast to be better than.
Nash had 19 points to lead all Lakers to along with five assists in 28 minutes. Chris Kaman also had a big game with 17 points and eight rebounds off of the bench.
This time there was no hardly needed rule for the Lakers to take advantage of. Once Robert Sacre fouled out in the fourth quarter against Cleveland on Wednesday, since the Lakers would have been left with only four players on the court he was allowed to continue to play in exchange for a technical foul.
No, this time they played some defense to give themselves the 112-98 victory. Although the Sixers scored 35 points in the first quarter, the Lakers only allowed 34 points in the entire second half.
The Lakers have now won two in a row after losing seven straight. They come home on Sunday for brunch with the Bulls.
The Lakers still stink. They won two games on the road against shitty teams. Hooray?
But in this game, the Lakers looked fun again. If you recall the season opener against the Clippers, the Lakers attacked the paint and had some good defensive plays to pull out the 116-103 win. With all of the young players they had, they seemed to play with a sense of liberation. It had been the first time in a long time that watching the Lakers play basketball could be classified as “fun”.
With the injuries, the “fun” was sapped away. But with Nash and Steve Blake back, it does appear to be rearing its head back. Could this be a sign of things to come? Probably not. But for at least one day it looked fun again.