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Lakers bench fails to deliver, again

In Wednesday night's game, the Jazz's reserves were 36-12 against the Lakers' backups, which contributed to L.A.'s loss to Utah, 95-86.

November 08, 2012|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Lakers power forward Pau Gasol tries to cut off a drive by Jazz center Al Jefferson in the first half Wednesday night in Utah.
Lakers power forward Pau Gasol tries to cut off a drive by Jazz center Al Jefferson… (Rick Bowmer / Associated…)

SALT LAKE CITY — Can a bench be benched?

Probably not. But the Lakers need to do something about their reserves after having been again pounded by an opponent.

Utah won the battle of the backups Wednesday, 36-12, yet another reason the Lakers lost to the Jazz, 95-86.

Lakers Coach Mike Brown insisted a day earlier that he still believed in the reserves, saying, "I am confident in the guys."

No reporters asked him about the second unit after Wednesday's game. And if they did, there was no way Brown could have answered with as much conviction.

Antawn Jamison somehow failed to match the 4.3 points he averaged coming into the game, scoring only two against the Jazz.

Darius Morris was unsteady with his shot and unsure in his drives to the basket, finishing with three points on one-for-six shooting.

Jordan Hill hustled, pulling down 12 rebounds, but he made one of five shots.

Jodie Meeks didn't even play for the second time in three games. Robert Sacre, the media darling of training camp, also didn't get off the bench.

Veteran point guard Chris Duhon, a throw-in from the Dwight Howard trade, has played a total of eight minutes this season.

Not many options on the bench. It feels a lot like last season. Suddenly, Matt Barnes is missed.

Nash injury update

The Lakers will take progress where they can get it these days, even if it's only partial.

They have no choice.

Steve Nash did some shooting and dribbling Wednesday but said he was "nowhere near" change-of-direction and cutting drills.

Nash has been sidelined since Oct. 31 because of a small fracture in his left leg. He went with the Lakers to Utah but did not suit up for their game.

"It's sore. I don't mind the pain. But it needs to heal. It hasn't healed yet," he said. "I'll work through as much pain as I can without going backward."

Nash did some stationary dribbling drills with assistant coaches Phil Handy and Eddie Jordan. He switched back and forth between dribbling two balls at the same time and dribbling one between his legs.

He seemed to bend at the knee without much problem, but he had to limp a few times to retrieve the ball after it got away from him.

"I'm nowhere near ready to do multi-directional or unpredictable movement," he said. "But predictable movements or stationary stuff, I can do OK at a moderate pace."

Not exactly what Lakers fans want to hear, but the team is being patient with Nash and will medically evaluate him this weekend.

Nash also shot dozens of free throws and took about 50 shots from just inside the three-point line.

The big question: When is he back?

"I have no idea," Nash said. "It's sore when I wake up, but it gets better throughout the day for sure."

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

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