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.
Watch Jonathan Simmons’ chasedown block on Stephen Curry
While the Spurs were running the Warriors out of Oracle Arena — a 129-100 Spurs win — Simmons had a fantastic chasedown block on Stephen Curry. It was one of the plays of the game (most of the rest came from Kawhi Leonard).
Simmons had 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting off the bench for the Spurs in the win, which included a poster dunk on JaVale McGee late. Just to put some icing on the win.
Iman Shumpert in concussion protocol after collision with Porzingis
Late in the third quarter of Cleveland’s blowout opening night win over New York, the Cavalier’s Iman Shumpert lowered his head and tried to drive the lane, where he collided with Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis. It looked like Shumpert’s head hit Porzingis’ hip and elbow.
Shumpert instantly went to the ground, then needed help to come off the court. He was diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms, the team announced. Apparently, Porzingis is a rock.
A source questioned whether Shumpert would be available for either of the Cavs’ next two games, Friday in Toronto and Saturday against Orlando at The Q. To play, Shumpert would need to be symptom free, pass a series of tests, and show no symptoms after each test.
There is no set timeline with a concussion. In the short term, this will mean more DeAndre Liggins on the court until Shumpert returns.
The Cavs are already without rookie backup point guard Kay Felder, who suffered a concussion during practice last Friday when he ran into Chris Andersen.
What championship hangover? Cavaliers rout Knicks on ring night in Cleveland.
LeBron had a triple-double — 19 points, 14 assists, 11 rebounds — and led the Cavaliers to an easy win over the Knicks, 117-86. Kyrie Irving had 29 points — 19 in the third — and Kevin Love added 23 in the win.
But mostly it was the Cavaliers’ offense getting whatever shot it wanted and the Knicks watching dunks from up close.
Over the course of this season, these Knicks will evolve into something better than they showed opening night. No Derrick Rose (trial) and no Joakim Noah (injury) meant the Knicks starting five didn’t have a lot of cohesion and chemistry from the start.
After a sluggish first five minutes by both teams — they were a combined 6-of-22 shooting to open the game — the Cavaliers slowly started to create a little space behind 10 first quarter points from Love. That lead really started to grow as the Knicks bench came in and went 0-of-6 shooting to end the quarter, with Brandon Jennings making questionable decisions. Tack on seven Knick turnovers and the first and they were down 10 after 12 minutes.
The Cavs were in control through much of the second quarter until the Knicks went on a 10-0 run to make it a game again. It was Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony driving the team — they shot a combined 12-of-20 in the first half, the rest of the Knicks were 5-of-23. It was 48-45 Cavaliers at the break.
In the third quarter the Cavaliers starters cranked it up behind Kyrie Irving and tighter defense — the third quarter saw Kyrie Irving with 19 points and the entire Knicks team with 19. It was 82-64 Cavs after three and the celebration was on.
Kristaps Porzingis showed some moments but his 16 points came on 5-of-13 shooting. Anthony had 19 points on 18 shots. Rose had 17 points but four turnovers and one assist. Brandon Jennings came off the bench to shoot 1-of-7. It was not their best night.
For the Cavs, it was one to remember — the first banner in 52 years went up.
Did we mention LeBron James was dunking all over Knicks? Watch for yourself.