Lakers Coach Mike Brown (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)
As the Lakers head into their final two exhibition games, they'll likely miss Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard for at least the Wednesday contest against the Clippers.
With Bryant dealing with a sore foot, Howard still trying to shake off the rust and teammates Metta World Peace (finger) and Jordan Hill (back) working through injuries, have the Lakers had a little bit too much of training camp and the exhibition season?
"I don't play a lot of basketball in the summer. I train my butt off every day, but I try to get away from the game. I just work on my skills . . . strength and conditioning as well," said Steve Nash. "For me, I need this month to get my game back in rhythm and timing. This year, it's compounded by the fact that it's a whole new team for me, new teammates, a new offense and defense. I need this time to kind of get back in the swing of things."
The Lakers are set to start their regular season on Oct. 30 at home against the Dallas Mavericks. Through six exhibition season games, the team has yet to log a single victory.
What's the magic number of exhibition games?
"It's fine by me. I don't care if it's six or eight," Nash said. "Eight's fine."
Prior to last year's lockout-shortened season, each team played just two exhibition games each.
Bryant, who is officially listed as day-to-day, didn't sound like a fan of the entire process.
His ideal number of games?
"Zero," said the Lakers all-star guard.
Coach Mike Brown said he's happy with the system as is.
"Obviously with the injuries, you wish you can extend it so you can have guys together a little longer," he said. "I like the month. I like eight. . . . I think the pre-season in the NBA is perfect."
What Brown wishes was that he had a healthier squad so his group could get more time in their new offensive system. Losing Hill, who said he expects to play Wednesday night, Brown wasn't able to use Antawn Jamison as a small forward.
Should the team miss both Howard and Bryant against the Clippers, a team that has looked very strong in the exhibition season, the Lakers may start 0-7.
Brown noted that the Clippers swept the Lakers last preseason but that the Lakers won the regular-season series.
Training camp and exhibition-season games are necessities. Injuries are going to happen year-round, even during the off-season.
The Lakers are striving to be the best team over 82 games and through the playoffs. No one on the team will lose any sleep if the team drops all eight of the games that don't count.
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