Long before everyone cleared off the court, Steve Blake sat motionless on the bench trying to process everything that happened.
The Lakers’ 96-79 loss Tuesday to the Utah Jazz marked yet another loss, one that plummeted them to the 14th place in the Western Conference. Steve Nash left early for two consecutive games after feeling more nerve irritation in his back. And Blake had just shot an uncharacteristic 2-of-11 from the field, partly after feeling more pain in his recently hyperextended right elbow.
“I was more just frustrated with myself, hoping that I can do more,” Blake said in a solemn tone afterwards. “I felt like this is a game we could’ve won, especially getting up early. Just disappointed. I try to think about what I can do better, take it in and go from there.”
It seems difficult, though.
Blake went to the sideline momentarily in the second half after getting caught on a screen and feeling further pain in his elbow. Lakers trainer Gary Vitti attended Blake, but as he said afterwards, “I wasn’t going to sit down. I had to play through it.” After all, the Lakers already nurse plenty of injuries to Kobe Bryant (left knee), Pau Gasol (right groin), Nick Young (left knee), Jordan Farmar (left hamstring), Jodie Meeks (right ankle) and Xavier Henry (right knee). Nash’s absence also left the Lakers with only Blake and Kendall Marshall manning the backcourt.
But the pain in Blake’s elbow bothers him so much that he revealed feeling hurts when he practices, notably when he’s fitting in outside shooting sessions to build his rhythm. It also partly explains why Blake’s shots fell short against Utah.
Blake vowed he will “have to mentally push through it.” But as he showed with his postgame demeanor, the obstacles appear overwhelming.
“I’m frustrated. I don’t like to lose,” Blake said. “It doesn’t matter who’s out there and who’s not. There’s no excuses. Just focus on myself right now. I have to make shots. It’s going to be tougher for me to do that, but I have to try to push through it and figure it out.”
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