The Los Angeles Lakers took a beating from the Phoenix Suns on Monday night, falling 117-90. The lopsided game was far from surprising considering the Lakers’ laundry list of injuries and the fact it was on the road. L.A. had just one healthy point guard for the game in Kendall Marshall who was signed last week to help the team get by. He committed four turnovers in just six minutes of action.
The outlook may seem bleak for the Lakers’ future, but it is way too early to give up on this season. PG Jordan Farmar should return from injury within the week, and his presence will be a much bigger boost than most think. Farmar was starting to heat up before going down with a hamstring injury, shooting .583 from the field, and averaging 14.6 points, five assists, with just 1.2 turnovers in his last five contests.
Pau Gasol was clearly slowed by his recent infection on Monday night, but when Gasol and Farmar are back at full strength the Lakers have enough to get by until the return of Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant. The outlook on both of them is still a bit fuzzy, but Nash is aiming for a mid-to-late January return and Bryant is hoping to be back early-to-mid February.
L.A. may not gain a lot of ground in the Western Conference while Bryant and Nash are out, but they shouldn’t get blown out of the race either. After a Christmas matchup at home against the Miami Heat, the Lakers have a very nice stretch of winnable games starting on the road against the Utah Jazz followed by a four-game homestand with Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Utah again, and ending with the Denver Nuggets.
This is a perfect stretch for the undermanned Lakers to pick up a few wins on top of gaining a little confidence and momentum. At just 2.5 games behind the last playoff spot in the West, L.A. merely needs to play mediocre basketball while their stars are out to have a good shot at the postseason. When Bryant and Nash return, the Lakers should be stronger than ever after the team has been pushed to find talent where they didn’t know they had it.
Even though Kobe Bryant is out, the Lakers still have a fighting chance of making the playoffs this year at only two and a half games out of eighth place. Get your Lakers tickets here to watch them as they try to overcome adversity.