The Los Angeles Lakers lost, once again, on Sunday night, dropping them to 9-12 on the season. Their 117-110 defeat at the hands of the Utah Jazz has them 1.5 games out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Firing Mike Brown hasn’t seemed to have turned things around in L.A. Under Mike D’Antoni, the Lakers have gone 4-7. They were 5-5 with Brown and Bernie Bickerstaff as the team’s head coach.
The biggest reason for the Lakers struggles might be the absence of Steve Nash. The point guard went down with an injury in the second game of the season, and hasn’t returned to the court since.
The return of Nash might not solve all of the Lakers' problems, but it would certainly help a lot. In Nash’s absence, the Lakers have played one of the worst point guard combinations in the NBA.
The duo of Darius Morris and Chris Duhon will continue to run the point for L.A. in the near future. D’Antoni had expressed optimism about Nash’s health this weekend, but has now recanted his statements.
“It was just me talking and I probably talked too much,” said D’Antoni. “I wanted Steve to come back last week in my mind. But he has a timetable and he’s not running yet so there’s no way he’s playing right now. So it’ll be a little bit. But hopefully we’re closer to the end than we are at the beginning. I always want him to play, even one-legged, but that’s not fair.”
The head coach said Nash will probably miss the Lakers upcoming road trip. The four-game trip begins against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday and ends with a visit to the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday. Therefore, the fracture in Nash’s left leg will keep him out for at least another week.
Morris and Duhon have been given the task of running L.A.’s offense. Neither player was expected to get much time in the 2012-2013 season, but injuries to Nash and Steve Blake have forced Los Angeles to give them both a shot in the backcourt with Kobe Bryant.
Nash ran D’Antoni’s offensive system to perfection with the Phoenix Suns. His absence has forced Bryant to take on much of the team’s scoring. He leads the league in scoring, but L.A. is just 1-9 in games that Bryant has scored 30 or more points.