The Los Angeles Lakers were already facing an uphill battle against the second-seeded San Antonio Spurs in their first-round playoff series without superstar Kobe Bryant, but now the Lake Show is on the verge of being swept out of the postseason facing an 0-2 hole.
With Nash and Jodie Meeks both doubtful for Friday, and Steve Blake out indefinitely with a hamstring, L.A.'s backcourt is severely undermanned. Defending San Antonio's perimeter stars has already proven to be a big issue for L.A. through the first two games of the series, but now the Lakers will have to rely on Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol to deliver memorable offensive performances at Staples Center in order to force the series back to Texas.
With both Nash and Blake far from 100 percent, the Lakers will likely be without a combined 26.5 points and seven assists per game in Game 3. The Lakers also lose a veteran floor general with 120 playoff games under his belt in Nash.
Let's face it, Kobe's season-ending Achilles injury was the worst thing that could have happened to L.A. down the stretch, but the Lakers' latest injury setbacks, including Nash's hip have all but ensured their postseason fate.
With all due respect, Darius Morris, Andrew Goudelock and Chris Duhon simply cannot match the sort of production Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are capable of delivering for San Antonio. After all, Parker and Ginobili have combined to average 38.5 points per game in this series thus far while L.A.'s reserve trio has combined to average a measly seven points per game.
In a seven-game series, you can't hide injuries, and the Lakers are learning that firsthand this spring.
It's no secret, superstar talent wins in the NBA, and Kobe's injury was the beginning of the end for Mike D'Antoni's reeling squad. Beating the second-best team in the Western Conference four out of seven times without their leading scorer was a monumental task, but now the Lakers are officially in over their heads without Nash running the show.
The Lakers will now be forced to rely even more heavily on a frontcourt that has only managed to outscore the Spurs' 80-70 in the paint over the course of the first two games of the series.
San Antonio is a veteran-laden team, and not one to let up. A win on the road Friday night would all but guarantee a series win for the Spurs, and given their brush with injuries this season, it's safe to say they'll capitalize on their shot to sink the Lakers for good in L.A. this weekend.
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