HOUSTON — The Lakers appear backed up in their own end zone. They lack much protection. They have too much yardage to make ground. They face and too large of a lead to overcome.
But that didn’t stop Lakers guard Kendall Marshall from throwing a Hail Mary pass by making one proclamation to his best friend Reggie Bullock, a Clippers rookie and former North Carolina teammate.
“I’ve already guaranteed a win to him,” Marshall said when the Lakers play in a designated road home Friday against the Clippers at Staples Center. “I also told him that if he ever guards me, I might go for 30 [points].
Well, the latter scenario isn’t happening. Bullock has remained sidelined with an ankle injury since early December. It doesn’t appear the former scenario will unfold either. The Lakers (14-22) have lost nine of their past 10 games and hardly resemble the team that shocked the Clippers opening night.
“Man,” Nick Young said, asked to think back to that Oct. 29 victory. “What, this is our 35th game or 36th game today? Man. So, time flies. But we should be ready.”
They’ll have to without significant pieces.
Kobe Bryant (fractured left knee), Steve Nash (nerve issues in back), Steve Blake (hyperextended right elbow), Jordan Farmar (strained left hamstring) and Xavier Henry (bone bruise in right foot) still remain sidelined. Then again, the Clippers are playing without point guard Chris Paul, who’s out for the next three to four weeks because of a right shoulder injury.
“It’s still going to be exciting, of course,” Young said, mindful of the Clippers covering up the Lakers’ championship banners. “Because that’s the battle of L.A. still. That’s still one of the games that if we win, the fans will look past us losing [recently]. We need to go out there and just have fun and enjoy the moment and try to get the victory.”
And at least one member of the Lakers believes that will happen.
“I see it as another game,” Marshall said. “I haven’t been here so I don’t really understand the rivalry.”
By mimicking Joe Namath’s brashness, however, Marshall will soon find out.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org