I strained a hamstring just watching the Lakers lose to the Spurs Wednesday night.
Like Odysseus just trying to get home, the basketball gods are not done throwing obstacles in the Lakers way. And obstacles in this case are more injuries.
So here is a rundown of the Lakers injuries as of postgame Wednesday night. Make yourself comfortable, this could take a while.
• Steve Nash. Well, he played 31 minutes Tuesday. But he moved like a guy older than his 39 years and by the fourth quarter had a noticeable limp. After the game it was announced he would get an epidural and with that will try to go in Game 3.
• Steve Blake. The guard that largely carried the Lakers perimeter game at the end of the regular season checked out in the fourth quarter with an injured right hamstring. He will get an ultrasound on Thursday and his status for Friday will be based on that.
• Jodie Meeks. He tried to warm up and give it a go but couldn’t play. He’s got a sprained ankle and will have an MRI on Thursday to see the extent of the damage and if he can go.
• Jordan Hill. Well, he returned from hip surgery that was supposed to keep him out through the playoffs, but Mike D’Antoni didn’t let him test it until the final six minutes of the game. Obviously, there will be a lot of rust and conditioning issues.
• Kobe Bryant. Do we really need to go there? He’s out. And he’s off twitter during games.
• And just a note to Shaquille O’Neal and the Inside the NBA crew — all those injuries above are part of the reason Dwight Howard isn’t getting the numbers you think he should. You can’t establish an inside game without the threat of an outside game to keep teams from packing the paint.
What’s more the game has changed and the rules have changed — you can’t just dump the ball in the post and have the guy go at it in isolation anymore. The changes to allow zone defense means the help to double a big in the post is much closer than it was at Shaq’s peak. It gets there faster and because teams overload the strong side they cut off the obvious pass out. The only way you get room to operate down there is to have shooters that make teams pay for those doubles after a couple passes. The Lakers don’t have that now. Not close.
The New York Knicks couldn’t get out of their own way on Thursday night, even with a historic performance from Carmelo Anthony. With the Washington Wizards in town, it was John Wall‘s finishing ability that pushed the Wiz over New York, 113-110.
The final 45 seconds were hectic, as Wall took the lead for Washington with just 32 seconds left after drawing a foul on Carmelo.
Down by 1, Anthony then missed a jumper with 18 seconds left and the Knicks allowed Wall to do this:
Wall would go on to steal the final possession from the Knicks, and the Wizards left MSG with a win.
Gregg Popovich can be a fiesty dude, and sometimes he just wants to get his team pumped up. After news that Pau Gasol was going to be absent from the San Antonio Spurs’ lineup against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, perhaps this was his way of doing that?
Late in the second quarter in Denver, Popovich was seen arguing with a baseline official as play continued on. Pop was hit with an initial tech, and as the officiating crew walked away he blasted ’em with the best dad insult I’ve heard in a long time.
“You’re a terrible referee!”
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Mudiay was more than happy to assist with the second technical and ejection portion of Popovich’s tirade.
Long Live Pop.
Kristaps Porzingis is “The Unicorn” perhaps in part because of his high basketball awareness on the offensive end of the floor. On Thursday night against the Washington Wizards, the New York Knicks big man had an incredible putback dunk that surprised even his teammates.
Thanks to a missed Courtney Lee 3-pointer, Porzingis was able to fly in from beyond the arc to slam home two points.
Yeah, that’s crazy.
There’s putback dunks and then there’s flying in from beyond the 3-point line like this one. Wild.
The San Antonio Spurs will have to make do without PF/C for a while Pau Gasol thanks to a recent fracture in his left ring finger.
That’s according to a press release from the team, who said Gasol fractured his fourth metacarpal — the bone that connects the ring finger down to the carpal bones in the wrist area — during warmups before a game against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.
No word yet from the team on recovery time, but estimates given similar recent NBA player injuries suggest anywhere from 4-8 weeks.
Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward missed the first month of the season after fracturing his finger in early October. Cleveland Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving missed around a month in 2012 with a similar injury.
Here’s hoping Gasol can make it back to the court quickly for the Spurs.