Steve Nash is expected to start in Game 2 of the Lakers' first round series against the Spurs on Wednesday despite looking more than rusty in Los Angeles' playoff opener, reports Lakers.com's Mike Trudell.
The Lakers point guard returned to the court on Sunday after missing eight games because of a back, hip and hamstring problem, and scored 16 points. But Nash only hit 6-of-15 shots from the floor, and he turned in only three assists while playing alongside fellow point guard Steve Blake in the starting lineup.
After the game, Nash admitted he wasn't right. He told the Los Angeles Times that he still thought he presence added value to the product on the court.
"I'm not myself," Nash said. "I'm not moving that well. I'm struggling a little bit. I probably had a few shots in there that I probably normally make, but I still think it's important to try and contribute. We don't have enough points in our lineup every night."
Arguably, Nash is right in that assessment. Sure, he is a defensive liability. True, he wasn't efficient. But Los Angeles could only muster 79 points as is, and though the offense might run through Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard anyway, Nash still has value.
Howard went 8-or-12 from the floor and Gasol earned 16 shot attempts and had six assists. But as SB Nation's Mike Prada pointed out, the Lakers were struggling to first get the ball into the post and to then find decent good looks out of it. Los Angeles went 3-for-15 from the three-point stripe and also missed on many long two-pointers, giving the Spurs no reason to worry about double-teaming or at least sinking into the post to help defend the Lakers' two big men.
Nash indeed found himself some good looks but failed to knock them down. So even if he even becomes solely a spot-up shooter, his value remains high because he can stretch the San Antonio defense.