- Thanks to a long list of injuries, the Lakers are facing long odds heading into Game 3 of their Western Conference first-round series against the visiting Spurs at Staples Center. Already without leading scorer Kobe Bryant for the postseason because of a torn left Achilles’ tendon, the Lakers will be without their other top three guards, Stave Nash, Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks. Blake was already ruled out after pulling his hamstring late in the Game 2 loss, and Nash (back/hamstring) and Meeks (ankle) were doubtful heading into Game 3 before they were officially declared out about 90 minutes before tip off. Darius Morris, who combined for 20 minutes in the 38 games from Jan. 25 to April 12, will start at one guard and Andrew Goudelock, who was signed from the NBA D-League following Bryant’s injury April 12, will start at the other. As if those weren’t enough injuries, Lakers forward Metta World Peace had fluid drained from his knee earlier in the day and was walking stiffly in the locker room prior to the game. “Usually, we lose one guy and that’s a disaster. This is over the top,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said before the game.
- The last time the Lakers were down 0-2 in a playoff series was in 2004, when they dropped the first two in San Antonio before coming back to win four straight. They eventually lost in the NBA Finals to the Pistons. Others are drawing comparisons to the 1989 NBA Finals, when the Lakers lost starting guard Byron Scott to a strained hamstring during practice before Game 1, then lost its other starting guard, Magic Johnson, to a pulled hamstring early in Game 2. The Pistons went on to sweep the Lakers in four games.
- Spurs center Tim Duncan turned 37 on Thursday but hasn’t shown signs of slowing down in this series. The NBA’s active leader in games played at 842, Duncan is averaging 16.5 points and 7.5 rebounds through the first two games of the playoffs, averaging 34.5 minutes. He had 23 points and 10 rebounds against the Lakers in the second-to-last game of the regular season.
- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has experienced his ups and downs against the Lakers in his career, but he’s been very successful against D’Antoni, owning a 14-4 lifetime record against his counterpart. All but two of those games came when D’Antoni was coaching the Suns.
– Dan Arritt