Lakers finish Game 2 as sore losers
SAN ANTONIO —- Maybe Kobe Bryant should go back to tweeting during games.
Maybe Metta World Peace should try harder to get in touch with the Dalai Lama.
Maybe the Lakers’ injuries will finally recede, because they’re quickly running out of backcourt players.
The sky continued to fall amid too many maybes Wednesday, the Lakers losing to the San Antonio Spurs, 102-91, in Game 2 of their first-round Western Conference series.
Then they lined up in the trainer’s room, seemingly one by one.
Steve Blake will get an ultrasound exam Thursday after sustaining a strained right hamstring on a fourth-quarter drive. Steve Nash will get another epidural injection in his back after his hip-hamstring injury flared up in the first half. And Jodie Meeks will get an MRI exam Thursday because of a sprained left ankle that kept him out of Game 2.
The Lakers just don’t have much of anything right now. They trail the Spurs, 2-0, with only one thing in their corner — real estate. Games 3 and 4 in the best-of-seven series are Friday and Sunday at Staples Center.
It might not be enough to extend their season to another trip to the AT&T; Center.
“No matter what happens, we’re going to keep fighting, whether I’m playing or I’m not playing,” Blake said quietly in front of his locker after scoring 16 points on six-for-15 shooting.
Nash then glumly revealed his own injury details.
“It got worse as the game went on,” he said after scoring nine points. “This has been far and away the worst season for injuries I have ever been a part of personally and collectively.”
Anybody ready for Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris in the Lakers’ backcourt Friday? Both are second-year players drafted by the Lakers near the midpoint of the second round.
The Lakers get back at least one guard for Game 3, but Bryant probably won’t even be on the bench because his surgically repaired Achilles’ tendon needs to be elevated. He plans to watch from the locker room.
The Lakers, meanwhile, are averaging 85 points in two playoff games without him. Not nearly enough.
The Spurs finished 13 games ahead of them in the standings, and it’s easy to see why. They’re efficient (51.2% shooting Wednesday), they don’t make mistakes (eight turnovers) and they have something called a bench — their reserves are averaging 36 points this series while Lakers’ backups are at 17 a game.
Blake was angry enough at it all to kick a chair on the bench during a second-quarter timeout. Dwight Howard was too fiery all night, picking up a technical foul for arguing a loose-ball foul and getting in foul trouble early in the third quarter. He had a very average 16 points and nine rebounds in 33 minutes.
World Peace continued to shoot poorly (seven for 22 this series) and was too aggressive while trying to force isolation plays. He was called for charging in the second quarter and then picked up a traveling violation on the next possession.
“They are just more efficient than we are,” Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni said. “Now we go home. Let’s win this one Friday and then figure it out.”
For all their age and worn basketball tread, the Spurs have never seemed healthier.
Tony Parker was supposed to be suffering the effects of a sprained ankle. He had 28 points and seven assists without a turnover in Game 2. Manu Ginobili is obviously no longer bothered by a hamstring that sidelined him almost three weeks. He had 13 points and seven assists off the bench.
“We’re getting our rhythm back,” Tim Duncan said.
The Lakers simply need some players to come back. Friday might be their last stand.
“They know that if they win this next third game, it’s going to be very difficult for us to come back,” Pau Gasol said. “It’s a must-win for us.”
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