Pau Gasol, Steve Nash to sit
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Lakers have three likely Hall of Famers on their roster in Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, but none of them will be in the lineup in the team's exhibition opener Saturday against the Golden State Warriors.
Bryant being a scratch, of course, is no surprise. He is in Germany until early next week for a knee procedure, and is continuing to rehab the left Achilles tendon that was torn in April.
More on the Lakers
For more news, notes and analysis of the Lakers, check out the Lakers Index. Blog
Nash and Gasol, on the other hand, are healthy, but Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni wants to give them a day off with Saturday's game in Ontario, Calif., to be followed by Sunday's game against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center.
D'Antoni told reporters after practice Friday that he likely will start Steve Blake and Nick Young in the backcourt and Wesley Johnson, Jordan Hill and Chris Kaman in the frontcourt against the Warriors, the first of eight preseason games for the Lakers.
Young suffered a minor sprain of his right ankle during Thursday's practice but was back Friday, showing no lingering effects.
Nash, who at 39 is the league's oldest active player, was comfortable with D'Antoni's decision to rest him.
"He's obviously going to err on the side of being conservative," said Nash, who missed 32 games last season because of a variety of injuries. "It's early in the year and obviously, the kind of year I had last year, I was continually fighting something, so he just wants to be cautious."
D'Antoni would not commit to any decision on limiting Nash in back-to-backs during the regular season.
"We don't know," D'Antoni said. "We're going to look at it and we'll see, but that's definitely an option."
Gasol, however, said he will not be sitting out back-to-backs during the regular season.
"I don't think so," Gasol said. "Hopefully not. That's not the plan. Hopefully there's no restrictions going into the season. There's no point playing in a back-to-back the first two games [of the preseason]."
Earlier in the week, Gasol, 33, said he planned to play in the preseason opener. However, he made it clear that the decision to rest Saturday had no bearing on how his body is feeling, noting how improved he feels from last year's training camp after undergoing offseason procedures on both knees.
"Big difference so far," Gasol said. "It's been just one week of training camp. I haven't tested it fully yet. I haven't done many explosive moves out there yet. But so far it's been good. I've been progressing. It's not out of control. It's been good."