Originally posted on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 4/20/13
The Los Angeles Lakers won't be in full force come Sunday for Game 1 of the first round of the 2013 postseason, but they might be getting a little bit more help with Steve Nash. Nash told the LA Times that he's "very optimistic" about playing in the opening game against the San Antonio Spurs. "Mentally, I'm chomping at the bit. Physically, I'm getting there,”  Nash said. “I'm very optimistic that I'll play on Sunday. I just don't want to over-promise and get ahead of myself." While that seems like good news for Lakers fans, Nash's further comments might lead some to believe he might be getting a little ahead of himself. Nash said he’s not pain-free but that he feels "less inhibited." "I couldn't sprint," he said. "There was too much inhibition from the nerve. It was just shutting me down whenever I tried to cover some ground. That's why I couldn't play the last few weeks, it's hard to play an NBA game if you can't change ends of the floor." With Nash still feeling pain and not being able to move well, it might be his spirit to play that is taking over what his body is telling him. Nash has also been a horrible matchup for his team against Parker on the defensive end throughout the years. Parker has averaged 21.2ppg against Nash, while Nash has chipped in 19.3ppg against Parker in the playoffs throughout their meetings, but there's also one glaring statistic that the Lakers should look into. While Nash is older and less effective than he used to be, he still had trouble against Parker during the 2010 playoffs. The Phoenix Suns ultimately won that series in a sweep, but Parker averaged 19.5ppg against Nash that series while he was dealing with a broken right finger late in the season coupled with a leg injury throughout the regular season and playoffs. Nash's strong point hasn't been the defensive end and that's one area the Lakers have been improving this seaosn. Nash's determination to make it out on the court when the Lakers are playing at a high level right now may be the worst decision for the team if he's not fully healthy. When he's healthy, he's still a liability on many areas on the floor. When he's hurting, he's also a liability on his strong points too since he can't contribute like he usually could. Nash returning and pushing Steve Blake to limited minutes and a backup role may hurt his rhythm too, which would play right into the Spurs' hands. For the Lakers, it's a tricky situation in letting Nash return right now. For the Spurs who are the top seed and still have a good level of depth with some injuries, it might not matter if Nash returns or not. The only one that might be salivating at the thought of Nash returning could be Parker. He's also hurting and looking to get back into rhythm and Nash could be the perfect matchup to do that against.
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