Lakers power forward Pau Gasol is swarmed by the double-team defense of… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
Injuries defined the Lakers' regular season. Now the team is decimated, trying to challenge the 58-24 San Antonio Spurs with a skeleton crew.
"We've been murdered by injuries," said Pau Gasol. "It's tough to overcome that."
Coach Mike D'Antoni relied on Andrew Goudelock for almost 41 minutes -- a player who wasn't even on the team a couple of weeks ago.
Darius Morris wasn't in the rotation before the Lakers lost guard after guard after guard.
"These guys are learning, but they got to learn on the fly," said Dwight Howard. "I think Darius and Andrew came in and played real well."
Kobe Bryant (Achilles) and Steve Blake (hamstring) are out. Steve Nash (hip/hamstring) and Jodie Meeks (high-ankle sprain) are questionable for Sunday's Game 4. Metta World Peace (knee) may also sit the next one.
"It's difficult because we have lineups out there that we're not accustomed to," said Gasol. "It's hard to get on the same page right away -- so as much as everybody is trying, tonight there were too many breakdowns, especially on the defensive end."
Morris scored 24 points on 9-15 shooting with six assists and three turnovers. Goudelock scored 20 on 8-17 shooting with three steals and one turnover.
While their numbers are strong, the Spurs ran away with the game while shooting 61.2% from the field.
The Lakers aren't likely to get reinforcements by Sunday as the team tries to stave off elimination.
"Our backs are against the wall," said Gasol. "We're extremely short-handed."
"We're not going to hold our heads down," said Howard. "We're not going to quit."
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