• The Lakers will be without veteran point guard Steve Nash when they play host to the Clippers tonight at Staples Center, coach Mike Brown announced before the game. Nash suffered a lower-leg contusion Wednesday in a loss in Portland. Steve Blake will start in Nash’s place. Blake has started just six games in his previous two seasons with the Lakers. Darius Morris, the only member of the Lakers who hasn’t appeared in a game this season, will likely see back-up minutes. Morris is regarded as a better perimeter defender than Chris Duhon, and the Lakers have struggled with team defense so far this season.
  • A year ago, the Lakers lost their first two games before winning nine of their next 11. Once again, they’re on the verge of starting 0-3 for the first time since 1978-79, the season before they drafted Magic Johnson. The Clippers will be motivated after finishing one game behind the Lakers in last season’s standings, costing them home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs. The Clippers have also lost nine straight as the visiting team in this series.
  • Already deep and talented, the Clippers bench will be further boosted with the addition of forward Matt Barnes, who missed the season opener while serving a one-game suspension for an offseason arrest. The Clippers reserves put up 49 points in their season-opening win Wednesday against the Grizzlies. Jamal Crawford scored a team-high 29 points in his L.A. debut and Eric Bledsoe had 13. Brown said before the game that Bledsoe would be “a problem” even if the Lakers weren’t thin at point guard.
  • With one steal tonight, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will tie Johnson for the all-time franchise lead and move him to 15th on the NBA career list (1,724).

Dan Arritt

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