Lakers look to bring down Thunder

Lakers guard Steve Nash may not play Friday. (Associated Press)
January 11, 2013, 12:33 PM

While it was nice for Steve Nash to become the fifth member of the 10,000 assist club earlier this week, his team has still lost five in a row and that makes it tough to celebrate.

The Lakers will try to snap the streak against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night in Los Angeles.

Programming note: Watch the Lakers battle the Thunder live on Sportsnet ONE beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. PT.

Here are a few thoughts to consider ahead of tonight’s game:

Wounded Lakers

The Lakers were without Pau Gasol, Jordan Hill and Dwight Howard for Wednesday’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs which forced them to field a starting lineup of Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Robert Sacre and Darius Morris.

While it is nice to see Canadian rookie Sacre get minutes, the Lakers need help which may come in the form of Gasol.

He will be evaluated by doctor’s on Friday morning before a decision is made on his availability.

The Dwightmare never ends

Lakers executive vice-president Jim Buss was a guest on ESPNLA 710 radio in Los Angeles on Thursday and admitted that there are no guarantees that Howard will be a Laker next season.

“If we make the playoffs, that means we’re playing well and I think we’ll go deep in the playoffs and it’s a no-brainer that he stays,” Buss said. “I think if it continues to fall apart because of injuries, I’m hoping we can convince him, ‘Look, everybody was injured, you weren’t 100 percent for the whole year, let’s give it another shot next year.”

No changes planned

Buss also discussed the current state of his struggling Lakers but said there were no changes in the works as he would like to see how the team performs if and when all of the major players are healthy at once.

“We still like this team a lot,” Buss said. “How can you not believe in this team? This team is built to win. It’s a very, very solid team. We haven’t seen them all together and play together for games. In my mind, we would not consider a temporary fix or blow it up. Why blow up something we have a future with?

“It’s very difficult to talk this way because we’re five games under or six games under .500, and we’ve dug ourselves a hole. But at the same time, I feel that if we put it together, we can string seven or eight games in a row and dig ourselves out of this hole. If we play with the energy we’ve seen in the last two games, then I think you go into the playoffs with momentum.”

Angry Kev

After picking up 12 technical fouls over the past five seasons, Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant already has six this season.

Durant, who averages 11 free-throw attempts per 48 minutes — third in the league — realizes he needs to settle down.

“I guess I’m trying to be a little more greedy with the calls,” Durant told USA Today. “I don’t know. I’ve just got to calm down.”


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