Despite a star-studded cast, the Los Angeles Lakers are off to their worst start in 34 years.
Hoping to avoid their first 0-4 start since the franchise moved to Los Angeles, the Lakers will again be without Steve Nash on Sunday night when they host the Detroit Pistons.
Nash, who totaled nine points and eight assists in the first two games, sat out Friday's 105-95 loss to the Clippers with a bruised leg. The Lakers announced on Saturday that the 38-year-old point guard has a small fracture in his left leg and will be out for at least another week.
The addition of veteran stars Nash and Dwight Howard to a lineup that already included Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol made Los Angeles a popular preseason title pick. The Lakers still might hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy in 2013, but must overcome the team's first 0-3 start since 1978.
The storied franchise has not lost its first four games since opening with seven straight defeats in 1957 when located in Minneapolis. The Lakers have not started 0-3 at home since 1959.
"We need a win, obviously," coach Mike Brown said. "I'm not trying to fool anyone here."
Los Angeles opened with a 99-91 home loss Tuesday to a Dallas team minus injured star Dirk Nowitzki. Despite 33 points from Howard and 30 from Bryant, the Lakers fell 116-106 at Portland the next night.
Against the Clippers, Bryant scored 40 in 42 minutes and Howard was held to 13 while battling foul trouble for the third straight contest.
"It's particularly hard for me, because I'm not the most patient individual in the world," said Bryant, who has averaged 30.7 points on 61.4 percent shooting while nursing a sore foot. "But you have to be. You have to stay persistent. You have to stay committed to what you're doing, and just keep on trucking."
Though the Lakers have shot 49.8 percent, they've committed 59 turnovers and are giving up 106.7 points per contest in three games.
"It's not acceptable for us to be losing like this, but we will come in and we will work harder," guard Steve Blake told the Lakers' official website.
A visit from Detroit (0-2) could help Los Angeles get back on track. Though the Lakers had their five-game winning streak against the Pistons end with an 88-85 overtime road loss March 6, they've won the last two at Staples Center by a combined 38 points.
Gasol has averaged 22.0 points in his last three games versus Detroit.
Trying to avoid a third straight 0-3 start, the Pistons opened a six-game trip with a 92-89 loss to Phoenix on Friday. Tayshaun Prince scored 18 points while Brandon Knight added 13 with 10 assists. Detroit held an 11-point lead with 7:51 to play in the second quarter but was outscored 26-7 the rest of the half. The Pistons shot 41.1 percent, including 4 of 13 (30.8) from 3-point range.
"It definitely can (be frustrating) if you let it get to you," Knight told the Pistons' official website of the team's poor shooting. "The good teams, they don't allow that to hinder what they do offensively or defensively. They just play."
Veteran guard Rodney Stuckey has totaled 10 points on 1-of-17 shooting and has missed all six of his 3-point attempts through two games, but went 13 of 20 from the field for 34 points against the Lakers in March.