• Bernie Bickerstaff will be on the bench for his third straight game as interim coach when the Lakers host the Spurs tonight at Staples Center. The Lakers surprised many when they hired former Suns and Knicks coach, Mike D’Antoni, late Sunday night, but D’Antoni won’t be in L.A. until Wednesday and likely won’t coach the Lakers until Sunday’s game against visiting Houston.
  • Spurs backup guard Manu Ginobili is questionable after a recurrence of back spasms, coach Gregg Popovich said. Ginobili, who warmed up before the game, missed eight days of practice and the first two games of the season with back issues. After gradually increasing his playing time through his first four games, he played a season-high 28 minutes Saturday night in Portland and had season highs in points (17) and rebounds (four).
  • Without their top two point guards, Steve Nash and Steve Blake, the Lakers will have their hands full against the Spurs and Tony Parker. Nash has been out since the second game of the season after suffering a non-displaced fracture in his lower left leg. He’s not expected back for at least another week. The Lakers will also need to get by without Blake, Nash’s replacement in the starting lineup, who has been bothered by an abdominal strain and has been ruled out for this game.
  • The absence of Nash and Blake will further erode an L.A. bench that ranks 29th in the league in scoring at 14 points a game. Darius Morris, a second-year point guard who didn’t appear in the first two games, will make his first career start, with nine-year veteran Chris Duhon serving as backup. The Spurs, meanwhile, continue to receive great support from their reserves. That group is averaging 41 points a game, fourth-best in the league. Gary Neal came off the bench to score a career-high 27 points Saturday night in a win at Portland.

Dan Arritt

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