Nash faces first back-to-back test

October, 30, 2013
10/30/13
2:23
PM PT
McMenamin By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Steve Nash played just 21 minutes in the Los Angeles Lakers' 116-103 season opening win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, sitting the entire fourth quarter along with the rest of L.A.'s starters as the bench unit ran away with the win.

It was hardly a heavy workload -- Nash finished with three points on 1-for-3 shooting (banking in a 3), along with five assists and three turnovers -- and his playing time ended up well below the 30-minute mark that Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni would like to limit the 39-year-old point guard to, but Nash's status for Wednesday's match against the Golden State Warriors will be a game-time decision.

While the working plan is to consider keeping Nash out for one of the two legs for all 19 back-to-back sets the Lakers play this season, Nash and D'Antoni said at shootaround Tuesday that they would wait until game days to make the final call.

"What you don’t want is for the body to be really stiff and not be able to gain that mobility, then go out there and do some damage because you don’t have the mobility to withstand the demands," Nash said of the evaluation process. "Hopefully it’s not an issue, but I think that’s kind of for me the key thing is just seeing where I’m at, how I’ve recovered and how mobile I am after a game."

D'Antoni said he would prefer to have Nash knowing going into the game whether he will play or not and if Nash does get the call to play, he would be given his place in the starting lineup and approximately 30 minutes of game action. However, when he doesn't play, D'Antoni doesn't want him in street clothes and on the inactive roster.

"He’ll always dress and be available if we don’t use him, just because if somebody gets into foul trouble early or whatever," D'Antoni said. "So, I might go into the game thinking he’s not playing and then he plays. So, we’ll go that route."

Nash could not say after the Clippers game whether he would play against the Warriors or not.

"We'll see how it goes," Nash said. "A couple strange things happened out there for me tonight. But I think I'll be OK (Wednesday) morning."

Nash was asked to elaborate on what he meant by by "strange things."

"I'll just leave it at that," Nash said. "Just had some weird knocks and stuff that happened."

It was a similar freak movement during training camp that caused Nash to deal with neck discomfort for the final week of the preseason.

"I don’t know if I got bumped, but I made a real sharp movement and it just got bumped and knocked out of place," Nash said before clarifying what "it" was with a self-deprecating laugh. "The spine."

D'Antoni declined the opportunity to determine Nash's status after the Clippers game, instead joking that he would shuffle the lineup a different way.

"You know what? I'm thinking Jordan Farmar needs to sit out every other game," D'Antoni said of his back-up point guard who finished with 16 points, six assists and four rebounds in 27 minutes. "He played too many minutes."

If Nash was to sit, D'Antoni said at shootaround Tuesday he would have no problem playing the 6-2 Farmar and 6-3 Steve Blake in the starting backcourt together, however the opening night performances by Xavier Henry (22 points and Jodie Meeks (13 points) could cause him to re-think what the Lakers do at shooting guard.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Kobe Bryant
PTS AST STL MIN
25.2 4.8 1.4 35.4
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 8.6
AssistsK. Bryant 4.8
StealsK. Bryant 1.4
BlocksE. Davis 1.2