SACRAMENTO — What
"I might not be able to play anymore, I might have to yo-yo it or I might be able to play the rest of the way," Nash said Friday of his return from nerve irritation in his back that has sidelined him since Nov. 10 as well as an assortment of injuries that have bothered him since he broke his leg early last season.
Nash, 39, said earlier in the week he had hoped to play Friday against the Sacramento Kings but decided to take a more conservative approach to ensure he wouldn't "risk this kind of yo-yo season" in which he vacillates between playing and sitting out.
"The bottom line is, we don't know how much I can sustain," Nash said. "There's a lot of stuff going on back there, but I've worked really hard and made a lot of improvement and I'm gaining confidence I can play again. We'll see how realistic that is to sustain or survive the demands of a game."
Nash said he was unsure whether he could play Sunday against Toronto.
More space around the basket was supposed to represent the final frontier for center
Before facing Sacramento on Friday he had largely turned into a mid-range jump shooter, taking as many shots from 15 to 19 feet as he had from within five feet of the basket.
Some might say that's not the best use of his 7 feet.
"You would always want to take high-percentage shots, and I would love to get myself a little closer to the paint because I obviously would be more effective then and my shot percentage would probably go up," said Gasol, who entered Friday's game shooting a career-low 41.9% "So part of it is me settling for that jumper and part of it is not getting enough in the paint regardless of the play calls or anything else."
The departure of
"Well, he always can move closer to the basket," Coach
There was a slight uptick in shots taken from five to nine feet (representing 23.3% of his shots this season, as opposed to 15.2% last season) and from 10-14 feet (12.0% this season versus 9.0% last season).
Then there's that 15-19-foot range, which has represented 27.5% of his shots this season versus 25.6% last season.
"He's a good enough player where he's inside-outside," D'Antoni said, "but there's no limitations [where we say], 'Please don't go in there.' There's none of that. So he needs to go in there."