Nash, Blake To Return Vs. Wolves

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – Steve Nash is back. Steve Blake is, too. It’s been a long time and a lot of losing for the purple-and-gold since either guard last took the court. But tonight at Minnesota, the two Steves will be in the starting lineup for the 16-31 Los Angeles Lakers.

Nash, who turns 40 on Friday, has played in just six games this season and has been out since Nov. 10 battling nerve damage stemming from the fractured leg he suffered early last season. Blake played in 21 games before a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow took him out on Dec. 21.

Backup point guard Jordan Farmar is also expected to suit up tonight for the first time since Dec. 31. He’s been out with a hamstring injury.

L.A. wasn’t exactly barnstorming the league on Blake’s last day with a 13-14 record, and Kobe Bryant only days earlier having fractured his knee after playing just six games in his return from the Achilles injury. Since Blake last touched a basketball in a game, the Lakers have gone 3-17.

Blake was having a fine season, averaging 9.8 ppg and 7.7 rpg. While he was only making 39.8 percent of his overall shots, he was hitting 40.0 percent from beyond the arc. There’s no reason to think he won’t pick up where he left off and give the Lakers’ offense, 12th in points per game in the Western Conference, a boost.

As for Nash, there’s just no telling what to expect.

There’s also another angle to the return of the two Steves: emergency replacement point guard Kendall Marshall. The 2012 lottery pick castoff of the Phoenix Suns was plucked from the D-League and has performed admirably in a tough spot. He’s averaged 10.5 ppg and 9.6 apg.

He loses his starting job and a lot of minutes, too. How much better will the Lakers be? Obviously they’ll be more competitive with more NBA-tested players handling the ball. But, don’t expect this group to rocket up the standings even when (and if) Kobe make his return sometime after the All-Star break.

As for Marshall, he’s been a great story of perseverance. Hopefully, he won’t just get lost on coach Mike D’Antoni‘s bench.

7 Comments

  1. I honestly think the Lakers Owners/Managment team purposly took a part the laker franchise to pocket money. Think about it, they let go 85% of one of the best teams (chemistry wise) ever put together for no reason. How many rings did this core group get:

    Bryant
    Odom
    Fisher
    Artest (now MWP)
    Barnes
    Gasol
    Jamison

    and all this is left of those core group of people are Gasol and Bryant…the Lakers are done

  2. Jimmy Jazz says:

    If the Lakers get a lottery pick around 5, I think Dante Exum would be a great pick for them.

  3. icemack17 says:

    Wholesale changes needed, keep:

    Swaggy P
    Mamba
    Kelly
    J-Hill
    X-man

    That’s it…see ya

  4. I would rather have marshall and develop him rather than steve nash at this stage of his career. Will the lakers really be better with a 40yr Old Nash coming back with no match time fitness?

  5. squala96 says:

    Unfortunately Milen, Junior Buss is that dumb. Look at the players who let go over the years.

    Metta World Peace
    Lamar Odom
    Shannon Brown
    Matt Barnes
    Ramon Sessions
    Sasha Vujacic
    Antawn Jamison
    Earl Clark

    So far, only Nick Young is the good news in the new lineup. Everyone else is a complete downgrade to those mentioned above.

  6. dustydreamnz says:

    Yeah Marshall has been good. Nash is back, time to get on the Wolves.

  7. Milen says:

    Yeah, given D’Antoni’s cluelessness, the only good thing that happened to LAL this season, Kendal Marshal, may be sidelined for a while… at least until Nash goes down again eventually. I am just hoping Jimmy Buss will not be dumb enough to let Marshal go away. Although he is not an All-Star, he could make a great back-up PG if this team gets ever rebuilt.