Two good examples of this were Kobe Bryant’s shots, and Steve Nash’s minutes, which ironically went hand in hand.
Nash, coming off a seven week injury, was asked to play 41 minutes right off the bat. He talked about it, saying:
''To play 40 minutes after seven weeks was more than I could ask for I felt in a decent rhythm. I feel positive about it. We'll see (Sunday). I'll have to keep working on it. I know it will be sore and painful but I'm used to that.''
It didn’t seem to affect his level of play either. Nash scored 12 points, nearly double his season average, grabbed three rebounds, and had 9 assists.
That’s the Nash we’ve all been waiting for.
It’s good to hear that he’s up for the challenge of playing so much right away, and even admitted that he’ll need a little time to get back into shape.
However, having him back definitely alleviated some of the pressure off of Kobe. The Black Mamba said of playing with Nash again:
''It's easy. It's very easy. It's beyond easy. You put two guys together who can do opposite things and it fits extremely well. When I get a rebound, I look to get the ball in his hands because I know I will be getting an easy shot.''
Nash’s nine assists, which is more than his average, are definitely a testament to this. Kobe was able to get off 41 shots in the game, making 16 of them.
While the Lakers have been struggling under Mike D’Antoni’s demanding offense, fans have been worried, because, frankly, it was hard not to. However, it seems like Saturday’s game was a heartening display of what this team can be.
As ESPN’s Max Kellerman tweeted, “Bottom line: soon as #Lakers get @SteveNash back they get a come-from-behind OT win on the road vs an 18-9 team.”
The drawback, though, is that it seems like, at least for now, Nash and Kobe are going to have to keep playing their long minutes, but it’s good to know that Nash is up for the task.