EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Steve Nash doesn't have an X's and O's answer for the optimum way for injured Los Angeles Lakers stars Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard to play together, but he does believe they can both figure it out by putting in the effort.
"I don't know what the best way is to make them play together, but I know one thing is that they both got to just play hard and believe and not worry about -- 'Hey, how can we make this work,' " Nash said. "We just got to fight and scrap and on defense, use their length and athleticism and on offense, we all got to just be unselfish and sacrifice and make plays for each other regardless of where we are on the floor."
Gasol has missed the past three games after sustaining a concussion against the Denver Nuggets when JaVale McGee inadvertently elbowed his nose.
Gasol will not play against the Cleveland Cavaliers after a Sunday morning evaluation. He will be re-evaluated Monday.
Howard also has missed the past three games with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He participated in on-court conditioning exercises Saturday and will be re-evaluated Sunday. The Lakers are officially listing Howard as out, but coach Mike D'Antoni said he will be a game-time decision.
While Gasol has been out, the Lakers (15-21) have floundered, losing three straight games to extend their losing streak to six -- the worst skid for the franchise since it lost seven in a row in March 2007.
Nash also said it will be part of his responsibility as a point guard to get Gasol going when the big men do get back in the lineup. Gasol is averaging career lows in both points per game (12.1) and shooting percentage (41.6 percent) this season.
"I'm going to try to get Pau involved," Nash said. "Obviously, I think he's a terrific player. I think when we played together recently, there was a lot of opportunities where (the defense) would jump out on my pick-and-rolls, I'd get it back to him quickly. He can be the playmaker in 4-on-3, 3-on-2 situations where he really thrives. The fact of the matter, it's tough to get inside to him when Dwight and him are on the floor together. To Pau's credit, he can stretch the floor more than Dwight and he's more of a playmaker, so sometimes he's going to find himself on the perimeter."
In Nash's opinion, it's Gasol's mental game, not his positioning on the court, that matters most. "I think Pau is a tremendous basketball player," Nash said. "I need to see him get his health and his confidence back. Even when he has been inside this year he hasn't looked very confident. For me, I really want to see him really feel better physically, mentally, confident and enjoy the game because I don't know if he's been himself this year. If we can get him back to himself, it doesn't matter where he plays. He'll be great."
Lakers executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss told ESPNLA 710 radio in Los Angeles on Thursday that when Gasol returns, he wants the former four-time All-Star to receive more touches on the block.
"I love Pau Gasol," Buss said. "The thing is, if you shoot the basketball from six feet, your percentages are going to be in the high 50s. If you shoot from 18 feet, you're lucky to get 40 percent. To base his year off of his shooting percentages is just not the right way to analyze how he's playing.
"I believe if we can get him down low, he can coexist with Dwight Howard if they play enough games to where they can play off each other. I believe eventually he will move down there and D'Antoni will move him down there and his percentage will go back right to where it was."
D'Antoni said he has spoken to Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak about fixing things for Gasol before the Lakers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 116-101 on Friday.
"We talked about it and I think it's pretty evident we'd like to get him more touches down there," D'Antoni said. "... There are going to be a lot of changes (when Gasol and Howard return). We have to try to do everything and if that works, yeah, we'll do it in a heartbeat."
"I think Pau is a tremendous basketball player," Nash said. "I need to see him get his health and his confidence back. Even when he has been inside this year he hasn't looked very confident. For me, I really want to see him really feel better physically, mentally, confident and enjoy the game because I don't know if he's been himself this year. If we can get him back to himself, it doesn't matter where he plays. He'll be great."
The Rock wrote:This is just inexcusable
Steve Nash is attempting fewer field goals per 36 minutes this season than Larry Sanders.
Rooscooter wrote:^^Nash is the ultimate facilitator..... playing with the most "stacked" team he's ever played on.... seems logical that his shots per game would be lower here than in PHX.
Usually his shot attempts come as a result of the offensive chaos he creates and he gets a mismatch of some sort that he can exploit.... that isn't happening here nearly as much as in PHX.
karacha wrote:I would like Steve to consciously take ~2 more shots a game if possible. In addition to creating his own shots, which he is awesome at -- he could maybe spot up for a long jumper or two. Dwight set him up really well last night and Steve knocked down a jumper without hesitation. He's truly an amazing shooter. Against Cleveland, he took one mid-range jumper.... and the ball bounced off the rim. I was so surprised to see that... how in the world did that not go in?! This is Nash we're talking about! However, while I was thinking that, the ball came down and it went through the hoop.
lAKERfaNaticKID wrote:Question. Why isn't Steve Nash in the top 5 in assist? Since he's been back he's averaging easily 10 assist per game...is there a minimum amount of games that has to be played in order to qualify for the top 5?
jlkr wrote:lAKERfaNaticKID wrote:Question. Why isn't Steve Nash in the top 5 in assist? Since he's been back he's averaging easily 10 assist per game...is there a minimum amount of games that has to be played in order to qualify for the top 5?
Nash missed a lot of time. The ESPN assist leaders page says that players have to play at a pace leading to 70 games played or distribute at least 400 assists to be listed. Nash has played just 14 games so far out of 38 and is averaging 8.9apg for the season, but 9.7apg in his last 10 games. Since he is obviously not playing 70 games this year, he needs another 275 assists to get to the 400 plateau. Which should happen about 28 games from now assuming he keeps his current pace. But yes, 8.9apg puts him 4th in the top 5 and averaging 9.7 would have him right up there with Chris Paul for 2nd. Rondo the leader is basically untouchable at this point.
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