Steve Nash’s return is not going to be the cavalry charging over the hill to save the Lakers day that some fans (and maybe a certain head coach) seem to think it will be. Not when their defense gave up 31 points in the last 6 minutes of the game to lowly Orlando and Lakers players were constantly pointing at each other on that end of the court.
But man, they could use him.
And they are not going to have him for a three-game road trip this week, he told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
“Another 10 days to two weeks?” Nash wondered aloud. “That’s a total guess. Since I can’t run, I’m not going to play this week….
“The recovery time is getting better,” Nash said. “But it’s a small improvement.”
The Lakers have a three game road trip this week (Houston, New Orleans and Oklahoma City), return home for one game then are back on the road for another four.
Nash has missed 15 games with a non-displaced fracture in his left leg and the Lakers continue to be very inconsistent, very up and down.
Nash can help steady the team, but he is no cure all. Nash is not going to fix a Lakers defense that looks confused. He’s not going to hit Dwight Howard’s free throws. He’s not going to get Pau Gasol to accept a role outside the post. He’s not going to get the bench to knock down shots.
Nash is part of the solution to the Lakers issues, but he is not all of it. Still the Lakers need him back and they are just waiting. As is he.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.