- Lakers point guard Steve Nash will play tonight for the first time since Oct. 31 when he suffered a small fracture in his lower left leg against Portland in the second game of the season. Nash, who has missed the past 24 games, will be in the starting lineup and will have no limitations as far as his playing time, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. What will Nash bring to the Lakers? “The biggest thing is he’s one of the best point guards to play the game in the last 10 years,” D’Antoni said. “So obviously we should be better. We’ll see what problems we have and try to iron them out, but with Pau (Gasol) coming back, with him coming back, then we’ve taken a step up.” D’Antoni said Nash has been running as much if not more than anyone in practice and is “ready to roll” tonight. “He’s 38 and keeps going. I don’t question it, I just kind of like it.”
- Shoooting guard Darius Morris will get the start tonight along Nash because D’Antoni wants to have him defending Warriors guard Stephen Curry “as soon as we can.” Metta World Peace will come off the bench for the second straight game. “Metta’s going to start some,” D’Antoni said. “There’s some games he has to start because we need his defense against a tough 3. That’s something that could change game to game.”
- Warriors coach Mark Jackson said Nash’s return won’t change his team’s approach to tonight’s game. “Welcome back, Steve Nash,” Jackson said. “It doesn’t do anything for us. It’s good for the league, it’s good for them. He’s been a great pro for a long time. Other than that, it doesn’t do anything for us. … It doesn’t change what we’re doing.”
- The Warriors have lost five straight times to the Lakers and 17 of the past 18 games. They haven’t won a season series against the Lakers since 1994-95 and have been swept five of the past seven seasons. Earlier this year at Staples Center, the Lakers beat Golden State 101-77, the Warriors’ largest margin of defeat this season. Jackson, however, said it’s just another game on the schedule. ”Obviously, it’s against a team that’s highly regarded. But for us, it’s another game.”
- For the first time in 18 years, the Warriors will have a better record than the Lakers when they face them at least 25 games into a season. The Warriors are 18-9 while the Lakers are 12-14 after three straight victories.
– Eric Gilmore