Tonight the Los Angeles Lakers will take on the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center in what should prove to be a very tough and hard fought game. Unfortunately for the Lakers, they will be without one of their emotional leaders and floor generals. Steve Nash, according to the Lakers PR, has been ruled out for tonight’s game.
Call me crazy, but I just don’t think that this will be that big of a deal. Before Laker fans begin to question my sanity consider this. The Mavericks’ most important player is Dirk Nowitzki, the Lakers is Kobe Bryant and for this game only, Pau Gasol. Why Gasol you ask? Simple. He has proven to be an effective weapon at slowing down Nowitzki in the past. His length and versatility has proven to be a lot to handle for Dirk, and it has given him fits many times over.
If Pau is ready to play a tough, physical game tonight, and Kobe shows up as well, this game will be a blowout. The loss of Nash will be forgotten quickly because the Lakers will have won their biggest game of the season thus far. Yes, this is their biggest game of the season to date. Another reason losing Nash is not that bad? The Mavericks don’t have an elite point guard that can break down on offense and cause havoc.
The only thing the Lakers need tonight from, fill in starter Steve Blake, is timely three-point shooting and decent defense. Even Steve Blake should be able to offer that. At times this season, Nash hasn’t even been able to offer that. Blake’s backup, presumably Chris Duhon, will struggle, as he is not that good, and it will be up to Mike D’Antoni to adjust accordingly.
Last but not least, the Lakers will need Dwight Howard to actually show up two games in a row. He played very well against the Sacramento Kings, and proves to be a force when it comes to interior defense. If these small but extremely important tasks can be completed, this game will be cakewalk for the Lakers. Something the Lakers haven’t had too much of this year.
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