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Bucks beat Lakers, 113-103, as Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash are hobbled

Bryant has a bone spur in his foot. Nash is sidelined with something called a hip spasm. The Lakers still haven't been able to sweep a back-to-back series this season.

March 28, 2013|By Mike Bresnahan

MILWAUKEE — The older, slower, stumbling Lakers were playing on the second night of a back-to-back, so the outcome was practically predetermined.

What were not expected were dual injuries to their aging backcourt, Steve Nash unable to finish the game and Kobe Bryant limping through the locker room after a 113-103 loss Thursday to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Bryant was bothered by a bone spur in his left foot, Nash sidelined by what he called a hip spasm.

BOX SCORE: Bucks 113, Lakers 103

Bryant will be evaluated by doctors in Sacramento when the Lakers arrive there Friday, a day before they play the Kings to complete a four-game trip.

He was icing the foot on the bench in the fourth quarter and reentered with 6:47 to play, finishing with 30 points on six-for-17 shooting. He did not talk to reporters immediately after the game but later told Yahoo Sports that the foot "inflamed on me" but "I'll be all right."

Unlike Bryant, Nash couldn't even stay on the court, leaving for good with 5:13 left in the third quarter.

"I got a spasm in my hip and a [sore] hamstring," Nash said, adding that he initially felt pain in the hip during the Lakers' loss Monday to Golden State.

Nash said he wanted to keep playing Thursday but Coach Mike D'Antoni and Lakers trainer Gary Vitti advised against it because it could "cause long-term damage."

Nash, though, said he hoped to play Saturday.

Bryant recently missed two games because of a severe sprain in his left ankle. It is not related to the bone spur in that foot, a person familiar with the situation said.

Bone spurs and hip spasms, not what the Lakers (37-36) needed, not after their lead over Utah shrank to half a game for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference.

But it's not overly surprising for a $100-million payroll filled with older players, one of many realities as the Lakers teeter on the playoff precipice.

Another strange but telling truth emerged after another unfulfilled back-to-back set: The Lakers have never gone an entire season without sweeping one, but it might happen for the first time in their 65-year history.

The Lakers have only one more back-to-back — in less than two weeks against New Orleans and then at Portland, where they never seem to win.

Injuries and back-to-back impotence aside, the Lakers were stalled again by passive defense and too many turnovers.

They allowed 18 points in the first quarter but crumbled from there, the Bucks posting 35-29-31 the rest of the way. And this after the Lakers surrendered 71 second-half points the previous night in a near-loss to Minnesota.

What happened?

"I couldn't tell you," Dwight Howard said. "We were supposed to win games like this."

Howard had 15 points and 15 rebounds but only two fourth-quarter shots, continuing the pattern of being ignored in games the Lakers have lost this month. He now has five fourth-quarter shots in the Lakers' six March losses.

Nash was having a solid game, 16 points and six assists in 23 minutes before becoming another casualty.

"I didn't have the heart to put him out there," D'Antoni said after Nash returned from the locker room near the midpoint of the fourth quarter. Nash stayed on the sideline, stretching but never returning to the game.

Steve Blake did not foul out again but there were other oddities. In the third quarter, Jodie Meeks missed layups on consecutive fastbreaks and quickly found himself on another fastbreak. So he pulled up for a three-point shot and missed.

In the span of a minute, Lakers fans went: Meeks! Meeks? Meeks! Meeks? Meeks! Meeks?

The Bucks (35-36) had lost four consecutive games but got a career-high 21 points from center Larry Sanders.

The Lakers had no such highlights to offer.

"We're looking our age a little bit," D'Antoni said.

Not a little bit. A lot.

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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