If the Lakers are going to make the playoffs, they are going to have to do it without Steve Nash.
That shouldn’t be as surprise, Nash hasn’t set foot on a court since the calendar flipped to April due to a hamstring issue. But it was hoped, with Kobe Bryant out, he could come back. Maybe for the Lakers final game, a win-and-your-in contest against the Rockets Wednesday.
Nope. Via Kevin Ding of the OC Register.
Nash is out tomorrow but Lakers hope he will be ready for playoffs.
If the Lakers beat the Rockets Wednesday, not only are they in they get the seven seed and will face the Spurs. They have a better chance of beating the Spurs in a seven game series than the Thunder — not nearly as much as some Lakers fans seem to think, their chances are still slim (to be kind), but they are better.
Problem is, the Rockets have something to play for, as well. With a win and a Golden State loss at Portland the Rockets get the six seed. If the Lakers lose and the Jazz beat the Grizzlies, the Lakers are on the outside of the playoffs looking in.
The Lakers big challenge against the Rockets is transition defense — Houston plays at the fastest pace in the league and the Lakers transition defense has been a weakness this season. If the pace is up, the Lakers are in trouble. The Rockets also run a lot of pick-and-roll and Los Angeles was spotty with that defense this season.
Getting Steve Nash back was not going to help their transition or pick-and-roll defense much anyway.
Joel Embiid calls out Karl Anthony-Towns’ defense during Instagram trash talk
Mavericks center Salah Mejri has a history of agitating, including against the Spurs.
Two years ago, Mejri dunked while Dallas got blown out by San Antonio and yapped at the Spurs bench – drawing laughter from Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan. Last season, Mejri had Trevor Ariza and other Rockets trying to confront him after reportedly saying something about Ariza’s family.
The NBA changed its All-Star format this season from East vs. West to captain-picked teams (though still naming players equally from each conference).
That apparently wasn’t a big enough overhaul.
After including media and player votes last year, the league is making All-Star starter selection even more complex.
NBA All-Star Voting 2018 presented by Verizon will tip off with an early voting period exclusively on the NBA App and NBA.com beginning Thursday, Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. ET.
Voting via all other channels, including Amazon Alexa for the first time, will launch on Monday, Dec. 25 at 11 a.m.
Additionally, new for this season, five “2-for-1 Days” will allow fans to have their votes count twice on Dec. 31, Jan. 4, Jan. 11, Jan. 12 and Jan. 15 when voting through the NBA App and NBA.com, along with Sina Weibo and Tencent in China. All “2-for-1 Days” will be designated 12 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. ET.
TNT will reveal the All-Star Game starters, including the two captains, on Thursday, Jan. 18 during TNT NBA Tip-Off
The network will announce the reserves, as selected by NBA head coaches, on Tuesday, Jan. 23 during TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.
The team rosters for NBA All-Star Game 2018 in Los Angeles will be revealed on Thursday, Jan. 25 during a special one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.
I suppose this is to drum up interest on otherwise quiet voting days. After all, this is really just about the NBA selling itself.
But the All-Star voting process has always left something to be desired. I don’t see how this changes that.
So imagining James’ last act coming in purple and gold isn’t without basis. But as of now, it’s also a longshot, according to league sources.
Shelburne and Windhorst are highly credible. I doubt they’d report this without connected sources.
LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and manager, Maverick Carter, have recently publiclydownplayed the importance of Los Angeles to LeBron. That felt like a coordinated attack on the LeBron-Lakers rumors, and this fits as a continuation.
But why wage that campaign? To keep the Cavaliers focused while LeBron still plays for them, even if he might leave after the season? To lower expectations among the Lakers’ massive fan base, so as not alienate those people (potential customers of the many LeBron-connected brands) when LeBron inevitably signs elsewhere? Both could be true, but there’s obviously a difference between each driving LeBron’s camp.