Los Angeles Lakers v Houston Rockets

Steve Nash out for Lakers final game, hopes to be ready for playoffs


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.

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.

Dwight Howard crushes Kristaps Porzingis with dunk (video)

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Sometimes – as Kristaps Porzingis sees against Dwight Howard – it’s more flattering just to play James Harden-level defense.

Marc Gasol heads ball into basket after drawing foul (video)

Marc Gasol
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This was not Marc Gasol‘s first attempt to head in the ball after a whistle, but this time, he converted.

Here was his January try:


James Harden’s defense: Stop and point while opponent flies to rim (video)


As Rockets general manager Daryl Morey once noted, cherry-picking James Harden‘s worst defensive plays to create a video is unfair. Many players would look awful by that measure.

But Harden provides serious ammo for these worst-of videos.

This non-attempt to stop Lance Thomas is just brutal.

At least Houston buckled down to beat the Knicks, 116-111 in overtime. The Rockets have climbed to 26th in points allowed per possession.

Jerry Colangelo says Kobe Bryant could still make 2016 U.S. Olympic team

Kobe Bryant, Zachary Stinson
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So, Kobe Bryant‘s NBA career is officially going to come to an end after the 2015-16 season. That part he announced on Sunday.

What’s still up in the air is Bryant’s participation in one last Olympics. Bryant has been in consideration to make Team USA this summer at the games in Rio de Janeiro, and USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo tells ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that he hasn’t ruled that out yet:

Kobe was asked about this at his post-game press conference Sunday and said it was not a goal, but if it was offered he’d consider it.

“I’d be honored if that was there, it would be fantastic to be around that group and spend kind of the last journey with them,” Bryant said. “That being said, it’s not something that I’m obsessing over.”

‘When Bryant made it known that he wanted to play in Rio, he made it clear to Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski that he wanted to earn a spot, not be given one as a lifetime achievement award. Watching him so far this season, it’s almost impossible to imagine him making the roster on merit.

But nobody should begrudge him if he wanted to extend the farewell tour just a little bit longer.