The Lakers face the Dallas Mavericks tonight, and it’s a must-win for both teams. Since the Utah Jazz hold the tiebreaker, the Lakers are 1.5 games behind Utah for the 8th seed in the playoffs, and the Dallas Mavericks are 1.5 games behind the Lakers. The Mavericks are also in a position that the Lakers have been flirting with all season long, getting over that .500 mark.
According to Lakers reporter Mike Trudell, the Lakers will once again be without point guard Steve Nash, who sustained an injury in the Lakers loss to the Golden State Warriors, which has plagued him for the past week.
@stevenash (hamstring strain/hip) is OUT for tonight’s game against Dallas.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) April 2, 2013
Although Steve Nash played quite a bit last Monday at Golden State, Nash said it was that game where he felt his hamstring tightening. It wasn’t until the next game against the Milwaukee Bucks that his hip started spasming due to over-compensating for the tight hamstring. The news that Steve Nash would not play against the Dallas Mavericks was anticipated after Mike D’Antoni said yesterday that Steve Nash did not participate in practice.
Instead, Steve Blake is expected to start in place of Steve Nash. Blake played 32 minutes in the Lakers’ win over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night. He went 5-8 from three-point range, knocking down 15 points. Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol led the team in assists with 14 and 10, respectively.
The Lakers may have some extra motivation tonight, with the NBA greats in the arena. Shaquille O’Neal’s jersey will be retired at halftime and Phil Jackson will be there to speak in his honor. The Lakers will then have Wednesday and Thursday off before taking on the Memphis Grizzlies.
VIDEO: Mike D’Antoni Talks About Steve Nash’s Injury. Plus, How Shaq Changed Basketball