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With Nash on court, Lakers offense full of options

Dec 26, 2012, 1:55 PM EDT

Lakers' Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash celebrate after teammate Pau Gasol scored against the Knicks during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles Reuters

The Lakers are 2-0 since the return of Steve Nash, both wins over quality teams in Golden State and New York.

Let’s not go overboard with what this means — it means they won two games in December. It doesn’t speak to the playoffs.

But we are starting to see just how things open up with opportunity when Steve Nash is the guy directing the Lakers offense compared to, oh, let’s say Chris Duhon. Or Darius Morris. Suddenly there is a lot more creativity in the Lakers offense and that shows promise. But that promise is far from realized — the Lakers offensive numbers in those wins were not impressive (it was pretty average on Sunday if you look at points per possession).

Still, you can see signs of hope and what could be.

Of course, there are the Nash/Dwight Howard and Nash/ Pau Gasol pick and rolls we all expected. Most of those with Howard were drag screens (early in the shot clock screens while players are running down court) and Howard slips out early on almost all of them. What you see with these is what Nash has that few others in the game do — patience. He sees what the defender does than attacks where it is weak. Against the Knicks that meant a number of Nash runners in the lane.

But the play I really like that we barely saw was some Nash and Kobe Bryant 1-2 pick-and-rolls. In the same way having Dwyane Wade set a screen for LeBron James is nearly indefensible in small doses, the Lakers ran this just a couple times the last couple games but we could end up seeing it more.

Bottom line is that on pick-and-roll plays the Lakers ball handlers and roll men combined to shoot 9-of-16 (and that’s not counting the opportunities created for other players on the court).

D’Antoni also is using some of Mike Brown’s offense from last year and making it work — the Lakers ran “horns” a few times, where the two bigs start at either elbow. When they do that and Gasol gets the ball and starts to initiate the offense, good things happen as wing players get open looks. There was even some quality high-low action with Gasol and Howard.

It worked, and you can see why Mike D’Antoni leaned heavily on it — Nash played more than 40 minutes against Golden State and 37 on Tuesday in the first game of a back-to-back for the Lakers. Nash is still 38 and coming off an injury (not to mention the chronic back issues). The minutes have to be controlled for Nash (and Bryant and Gasol and Howard) as the season wears on. But with the Lakers at just .500 and looking up at the playoffs it’s not that simple for the coach to just sit back and think about games in May.

  1. chargerdillon - Dec 26, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    I dont know what world the rest of Lakers fans or people who write on here are living in. I watch as many Laker games as I can, and all I can see is a very mediocre team getting lucky the past couple of games.

    There was nothing impressive about their win over the Knicks at home. They got an abundance of calls which kept them in the game, they could at no point hold a lead longer than one or two possessions and it looked every bit as much like their previous win where they just scrapped by to make it close and got lucky.

    I would love to say the Lakers are on the right track, but this is nothing more than a 5 game illusion thats going to return to it’s mediocrity very soon.

    The Lakers cannot maintain a lead when the bench comes in. The Lakers cannot hold a lead when pushed into hack-a-dwight situations, and the Lakers are only doing as good as their near 40 year old point guard appears to be holding up.

    What happens when MWP gets a suspension which knowing him will come sooner rather than later for his physical tactics. What happens if Nash gets hurt or sore?

    There’s a lot of really good basketball being played in the NBA, the Lakers deserve none of those headlines.

    • cosanostra71 - Dec 26, 2012 at 4:36 PM

      “it looked every bit as much like their previous win where they just scrapped by to make it close and got lucky”

      Consistently winning close games isn’t luck, it’s skill, experience and strategy.

    • dannymac17 - Dec 26, 2012 at 4:36 PM

      Don’t worry, with the way the Lakers fans see things right now, we should just end the season and give the Lakers their banner and rings. I mean, nobody can beat em right?

      • badintent - Dec 26, 2012 at 6:30 PM

        Took the words right out of my mouth, !Just too bad when that Puente Hills 9.1 quake hits, Staples Center is gonna turn into a giant pancake. Hope the Clippers are on a road trip ! Then we can go right to the Western Finals playoffs with Thunder and Clippers, not have to waste time on the As The World Turns to Phil drama.

      • dannymac17 - Dec 26, 2012 at 7:02 PM

        i live by puente hills, dont you put that evil on me ricky bobby

      • kavika6 - Dec 27, 2012 at 3:13 AM

        Too late for that dannymac17. Miami has already done that.

  2. losanginsight - Dec 26, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    What else did you expect from the best starting 5 in the NBA?

    • dannymac17 - Dec 26, 2012 at 4:34 PM


  3. themagicfanguy - Dec 26, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    Hanging around .500 = NOT the best starting five in the NBA.

    • cosanostra71 - Dec 26, 2012 at 4:34 PM

      That starting five has played a total of 3 full games together, in which they are 2-1.

      • dannymac17 - Dec 26, 2012 at 4:34 PM

        So a 2-1 record makes them the best? Get off the crack.

      • cosanostra71 - Dec 26, 2012 at 4:37 PM

        So 3 games is enough to declare them a bust? Go be a hipster at a Clippers game and cry that no one cares about your team.

      • dannymac17 - Dec 26, 2012 at 4:56 PM

        The problem is, your cry when noone gives your team props. You are claiming 4 dudes in their 30’s running a Dantoni offense is a success.

        I dont need to worry about you worrying about my team

        We already Kufi smacked you.

        Gonna do it again next month too.

      • cosanostra71 - Dec 26, 2012 at 4:58 PM

        “You are claiming 4 dudes in their 30′s running a Dantoni offense is a success.”

        I said nothing of the sort. I merely pointed out that they have played 3 full games together in which they are 2-1. That is 100% fact, and it says nothing about whether they are successful or not.

      • dannymac17 - Dec 27, 2012 at 1:08 PM


      • cosanostra71 - Dec 27, 2012 at 11:42 PM

        You mean to tell me they’ve played four full games together and they’re not 4-0? Wow, it must be time to declare their season completely over and start getting ready for next year.

        You sure have a lot of time to comment on Lakers articles. Don’t you have some new restaurant in the Valley no one’s heard of to check out?

  4. coldyron - Dec 26, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Whoa, two in a row?! Here come the cries that this is the best team in the NBA.

  5. losanginsight - Dec 26, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    To all the LAker haters that type before they think or look up a few quick stats:
    The Lakers have won 5 in a row and 2 in a row with Nash, Kobe, Gasol, and Howard all starting. Keep hoping they fall apart hut the Lakers won’t. Kobe alone has more rings than most sports organizations and now he doesn’t have to be a PG too. Lakers are now trying to put up banner #17. Try to count all the titles your entire state has ever won in any sport and then reflect on what the Lakers are trying to do.

    • dannymac17 - Dec 26, 2012 at 7:05 PM

      This is why nobody like the lakers or their fans


      • manchestermiracle - Dec 26, 2012 at 8:32 PM

        Right, fannypac, because defending your team against bitter trolls (fans of teams that have never won squat) makes one a “degenerate.” Sad you get so irritated by other people cheering on their team. Sorry about that fat lump of coal you must have gotten in your stocking. Have a crappy New Year, too.

      • spthegr8 - Dec 26, 2012 at 10:20 PM

        @ DannyWACK
        You Laker HATERS are the so full of SH*T, that it makes me SICK!!!! You all HATE the Lakers and their fan base SOOOO MUCH, but you get on EVERY SINGLE Laker post and “TROLL” too get a reaction out of us. If I didn’t like someone, I wouldn’t go OUTTA MY WAY too talk too them or chat with them on a website!!! You don’t like us, but you DAMN sure envy us and the Lakers. otherwise you wouldn’t waste your time!!! Do ALL of US Laker fans a favor………. GET THE F**K OFF OUR D**K & stop “TROLLING” you PATHETIC, BITTER, little Pimple on the A$$ of life!!!

      • dannymac17 - Dec 27, 2012 at 2:43 AM

        you are quite the thug GREAT WIN TONIGHT BRO

  6. fanofevilempire - Dec 26, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Nash comes back and Howard is hitting free throws…………………………..
    the white boy is bad!

  7. spthegr8 - Dec 26, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    Males shouldn’t be jealous that’s a female trait. But it’s too be expected from a bunch of lil BITHCES!!!!!

  8. kavika6 - Dec 27, 2012 at 3:17 AM

    “With Nash on court, Lakers offense full of options”

    Yeah, rebound, rebound, rebound!

  9. omniusprime - Dec 27, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Kurt Helin you have to be the biggest idiot of all writing this tripe. Dumbtoni is keeping old players like Nash and Kobe on the floor for way too long and that’s going to hurt in the playoffs when they’re out of energy to play 40+ minutes per game. What little good Dumbtoni is doing on offense is wasted with his total lack of a defensive system.

    Ancient Nash may bring more creativity to the Lakers than Morris or Duhon, but he doesn’t play any defense so his offensive contributions are negated by his pathetic defensive play. I can only hope that the Lakers are smart enough to dump Nash and Dumbtoni after the season ends in failure. The Lakers need a real coach with real smarts and a great young point guard who can guard other young point guards while running a good offense. Plus we need Phil Jackson back to win a few more titles before Kobe is way too old.

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! We Want Phil!!! Dump Nash!!!

  10. spthegr8 - Dec 27, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    Not a thug by any means. Just SICK & TIRED of ALL you bitter little “TROLLS”!!!!!

    • dannymac17 - Dec 27, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      Can’t be a troll if I actually use my brain.

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