NBA West Roundup: Lakers Continue Battling Injuries, Curry Shines Against Bobcats
It was another week of the Los Angeles Lakers grabbing headlines with their injuries and losses. Veteran Steve Nash is expected to be out two more weeks and when Pau Gasol returns from his tendinitis, he’ll resume his role as a starter. He is listed as day-to-day.
In Monday night action, the surging Golden State Warriors (14-7) defeated the Charlotte Bobcats (7-13) 104-96. Warriors Stephen Curry had another great game with 27 points.
Gasol to Start Upon Return
After stories were circulating that Lakers veteran forward Pau Gasol had given up and teammate Kobe Bryant said he needed to put on his big-boy pants, Gasol is not in jeopardy of losing his starting role. He was absent for his fourth consecutive game on Sunday against the Utah Jazz thanks to his naggy tendinitis and when’s ready, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni doesn’t see Gasol as a sixth man.
He said on Sunday to ESPN of Gasol, “Not yet, that’s not what we need to be doing right now. We need to find him and Steve (Nash) in there together and look at it and make a good assessment. I envision him being really good at what he does at the four, so I don’t see that.”
One reason to keep Gasol as a starter is to see how he plays with Nash.
D’Antoni added, “I’m not going to mess with Pau. He’s too important to the team and he’s earned it and he’s too good of a player to even go there. That would be a last resort kind of desperate (move).”
So what is the latest on Steve Nash?
D’Antoni gave mixed answers on Sunday about Nash’s return, suggesting he could play on the team’s upcoming four-game road trip beginning on Tuesday but later said to reporters that he wouldn’t play.
Then Nash answered the question on Monday via USA Today: “I think it will be at least another two weeks. I can move. I can shoot. I just can’t run full speed. And I’m not even in shape. I’ll probably need at least a week of practice once I start running.”
On Tuesday, the Lakers (9-12) will need things to go their way as they play the Cleveland Cavaliers (4-17). Kyrie Irving is expected to give the Cavs a lift but the game is even.
Warriors defeat Bobcats 104-96
Playing in front of his hometown crowd, Curry shined on Monday with 27 points against the Bobcats along with his seven assists and seven rebounds.
After getting off to a slow start at the beginning of the season, the player has hit his stride. Monday’s performance represented his eighth consecutive 20-point game–a career best for him. The third quarter was the big one for Curry as he hit three 3-pointers and scored 15 points.
The player’s scoring average is now 20.0 points per game. This beats his 17 over/under odds for total points scored this season.
Curry said after Monday’s game via ESPN, “This meant a lot. I didn’t play here last year because I was hurt and we got beat. But the anticipation was high for this game. Seeing my family and to have a performance like we did tonight was definitely the icing on the cake.”
Assisting Curry with the win, teammate David Lee had 25 points with 11 rebounds. Carl Landry contributed 16 points and Jarrett Jack added 12 points with six assists.
The Warriors have now won seven of their last eight games and will play the Miami Heat (14-5). The champions sit at +190 for a repeat while the Warriors are +7500 to win it all.
As for the Bobcats, they have now lost eight in a row and with owner and basketball legend Michael Jordan on the bench, it did not help things on Monday.
The team’s leader scorer was Kemba Walker with 24 points and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist contributed 17.