Jordan Farmar to miss at least another week

Lakers guard Jordan Farmar plans to get evaluated within the next week after nursing a strained right groin that has sidelined him for the past seven contests.

Farmar received medical clearance on Monday to begin practicing, but he said he needs to increase that workload before jumping into a game. But when that happens remains to be clear considering the Lakers are likely to have off on Thursday following a slate of back to back games vs. Portland (Tuesday) and Sacramento (Wednesday). The Lakers will likely practice on Saturday, but those sessions are usually considered light. Most veterans use that time as well to receive treatment.

“We just have to find time for me to build that endurance,” said Farmar, who reporting completing Monday’s non-contact practice without any setbacks.

The Lakers have avoided having contact practices because of the injury-laden roster. Farmar said having that won’t deter him from returning.

“I think I can play if I play three on three,” said Farmar, who has averaged 10.4 points and 4.7 assists in 36 games. “If I do some work and get some days in, I’ll be all right. It would be ideal, but whatever. We don’t have much time left to wait around.”

Meanwhile, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni considers Steve Nash (back) and Xavier Henry (right knee) as game-time decisions Tuesday against Portland. Pau Gasol’s status is listed as probable after missing the past four games because of vertigo.


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Ryan Kelly helps secure free tacos for fans in Lakers’ 125-99 win over Suns

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Pau Gasol expresses hope to play alongside Chris Kaman

Something made Pau Gasol’s head spin, and no he isn’t still experiencing vertigo.

Gasol does not understand why Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni hesitates to play Chris Kaman along with him after he posted 28 points on 13 of 18 shooting in the Lakers’ 125-99 victory Sunday over the Phoenix Suns. Or after seeing Kaman average 14 points on a 47.9 percent clip and 8.8 rebounds in the seven starts over Gasol while nursing various ailments.

“After a monster game like last night, it’s hard to bench a guy like that and not play him like the most part of the year,” Gasol said. “You have to give him some credit and understand he’s a valuable piece and one of the best pieces right now.”

D’Antoni said he remains undecided on how that scenario will play out should Gasol play Tuesday against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center after missing the past four games because of vertigo. D’Antoni even joked to reporters, “I was going to ask you guys and give me scenarios where we could play them.”

But after signing a one-year, $3.2 million this offseason, Kaman has experienced what he has called his most frustrating season in his 11-year career. Kaman has averaged 10.3 points in 18.6 minutes, but has only appeared in 38 games. D’Antoni has often credited Jordan Hill and Robert Sacre for having superior defense and for Kaman’s versatile skillset becoming less valuable because it mirrors Gasol’s game.

“You do the math. If you’re going to play Pau 30 minutes, that leaves 18 minutes some place,” D’Antoni said, referring to the 48-minute game. “You’d like to play Robert because he’e developing. Even if you play 10 minutes, which is noting, that leaves 8 or 9 [minutes] with Chris.”
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Pau Gasol calls having vertigo “a scary moment for me and my family”

With three liters of intravenous fluid just inserted into his ailing body, Pau Gasol struggled processing what had just happened.

Gasol just exited the Lakers’ win over Orlando last week after feeling dizzy and light-headed for no apparent reason. Soon after, he lay on a stretcher en route to an ambulance wondering when the pain would ever end.

“It was a nightmare. I was feeling terrible,” Gasol said. “Everyone that saw me felt bad. I was extremely pale and shivering and couldn’t move.”
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Ryan Kelly helps secure free tacos for fans in Lakers’ 125-99 win over Suns

The crowd rose to its feet. The decibel level shook the ground as if another Earthquake rumbled through Los Angeles. And then the claps and the cheers continued.

In normal circumstances, the elation and the ensuing confetti that drops from the Staples Center ceiling coincides with another key Lakers’ victory or even an NBA championships. But this is not one of those seasons with the Lakers destined to miss the playoffs for only the fifth time in franchise history. So amid a depressing season, the non-sellout crowd of 18,355 fans at Staples Center clung onto something less significant.

A rare Lakers’ 125-99 win Sunday over the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center and the relative comfort that overpriced tickets to the game were offset with free tacos at Jack in the Box.

Ryan Kelly proved the catalyst in ensuring Laker fans would walk out of the arena with a coupon in their hands. Kelly jumped across the lane to block Dionte Christmas’ three-foot layup attempt with eight seconds remaining, capping a 90 second sequence in which the Suns went scoreless.

“I heard the chants going, so I knew I had to give the fans tacos,” Kelly said. “There haven’t been a lot of times this year where we held teams for under 100. So when you have that opportunity, you got to get it.”

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Mike D’Antoni unsure how he will play Chris Kaman once Pau Gasol returns

LakersÕ Chris Kaman and Pau Gasol watch the game during second half action at Staples Center Sunday, March 30, 2014.  Chris Kaman scored 28 points as the Lakers defeated the Suns 115-99.  ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

LakersÕ Chris Kaman and Pau Gasol watch the game during second half action at Staples Center Sunday, March 30, 2014. Chris Kaman scored 28 points as the Lakers defeated the Suns 115-99. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

The dread on Mike D’Antoni’s face told the entire story.

Chris Kaman had just posted 28 points on 13-of-19 shooting, 17 rebounds and six assists in the Lakers’ 115-99 victory Sunday over the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center, a rare feel-good moment for a player that had mostly become the casualty of D’Antoni’s system that calls for stretch forwards.

Kaman has only started in the past four games because Pau Gasol has suffered from vertigo. Kaman also lasted only five minutes in the Lakers’ loss Friday to Minnesota after playing sub-par defense on Nikola Pekovic. So with the possibility that Gasol returns sometime this week, where does that put Kaman? Immediately back to the bench?

“I don’t know. It’s tough because Robert Sacre plays,” said D’Antoni, who has preferred his defense over Kaman. “They play the same type of game and it’s going to be tough. I’ll try to figure that one out. Up until now, that hasn’t gone too well. I’d love for him to play. But we’ll have to see what happens.”
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Five things to take from Lakers’ 115-99 victory over Phoenix Suns

LakersÕ Chris Kaman blocks a shot by Suns Shavlik Randolph during first period action  at Staples Center Sunday, March 30, 2014.  ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

LakersÕ Chris Kaman blocks a shot by Suns Shavlik Randolph during first period action at Staples Center Sunday, March 30, 2014. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

Below are five things to take from the Lakers’ 115-99 victory over the Phoenix Suns Sunday at Staples Center:

1. Chris Kaman seemed unstoppable. He unloaded a season’s worth of frustration stemmed from a reduced role, numerous injuries and persistent losing and channeled it into a pretty dominant performance. So dominant that Kaman’s 28 points on 13 of 17 shooting and 17 rebounds nearly matched his career high 29 points set with the Clippers against the Houston Rockets on Dec. 22, 2009.

The irony of this development seems too striking. Kaman cemented an eight-year career with the Clippers that included an All-Star game appearance the same season he set his previous career high in points. Kaman has called this year the most frustrating of his 11-year career for obvious reasons. He came here on a mini mid-level deal worth $3.2 million believing the Lakers would use him as a worthy consolation prize toward losing Dwight Howard. Instead, Kaman has mostly found himself toiling on the Lakers’ bench. He’s also only two days removed from playing the first five minutes of the Lakers’ 143-107 loss Friday to Minnesota, a stretch that featured shaky defense on Nikola Pekovic.

But against Phoenix, Kaman unleashed everything that made him such a valuable signing. He canned mid-range jumpers and putbacks. Kaman played a solid pick-and-roll game besides an erroneous moving screen call that also sparked a technical foul. Kaman’s season-long weakness on defense relatively improved too. All of this elation could die down as quickly as Tuesday against Portland, especially against Pau Gasol. But for Kaman’s sake, he provided a showcase game worthy to appear on his free agency resume tape.

2. The Lakers defense improved.
No one will mistake the Lakers as the 1980′s Detroit Pistons or the 1990′s New York Knicks, two teams that bullied and intimidated opponents with their bruising strength and toughness. But after spending their recent two-game trip not showing a lick of effort in this area, the Lakers channeled the same defensive energy that ensured recent home wins against Orlando and New York as well as another round of free tacos.

The Lakers held Phoenix to a 38.9 percent clip from the field, including a surprising 7-of-25 combined mark from the Suns’ talented backcourt in Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. The Lakers limited their turnovers, which helped tamper down on issues surrounding transition defense. The Lakers’ crisp ball movement (29 assists on 53 field goals) channeled added focus on the other end.

By and large, the Lakers are a defensively flawed team. They lack a consistent rim protector. Even though they feature bouts of speed and athleticism, the Lakers usually lack enough strength in those areas against other young NBA teams. But the Lakers can offset those disadvantages through pretty simple concepts, including better shot selection and ball handling, stronger communication and effort. The formula worked against Phoenix, which also took way too many outside shots just because they were open. But in the remaining nine games, the Lakers have yet to prove they can showcase such a mindset consistently.
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Pau Gasol, Xavier Henry out vs. Phoenix; Steve Nash a game-time decision

Both Pau Gasol and Xavier Henry will sit out when the Lakers (24-48) host the Phoenix Suns (44-29) tonight at Staples Center because of persisting injuries within the past week.

Gasol will miss his fourth consecutive game because of vertigo. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said Gasol completed cardiovascular exercises, but says he still “feels a little loopy.” Henry will stay out of his second consecutive game because of soreness in his right knee, an injury that had sidelined him for a combined 29 games this season.

Meanwhile, Steve Nash remains a game-time decision because of nerve irritation in his back. He played in 19 minutes in the Lakers’ loss Friday to Minnesota without any reported setbacks, but D’Antoni said “he just wants to make sure it’s okay.” After missing the past seven games because of a strained right groin, Jordan Farmar plans to get reevalauted on Monday, but D’Antoni said it is likely he will be “a week away.”

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Chris Kaman voices frustration again on playing time

Steve Nash reports no setbacks in Lakers’ loss to Minnesota, but unsure about playing status

Kevin Love downplays talk about joining the Lakers

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Chris Kaman voices frustration again on playing time

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, right, makes basket against Los Angeles Lakers center Chris Kaman (9) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Minneapolis, Friday, March 28, 2014. The Timberwolves won 143-107. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, right, makes basket against Los Angeles Lakers center Chris Kaman (9) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Minneapolis, Friday, March 28, 2014. The Timberwolves won 143-107. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

MINNEAPOLIS — Chris Kaman found himself back on the bench again, and new reasons emerged.

They did not involve Pau Gasol returning to the lineup. He still remains sick with vertigo. Nor has Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni gone back to his small-ball philosophy. Instead,Kaman lasted only five minutes of the Lakers’ 143-107 loss Friday to the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center after seeing Nikola Pekovic scored eight of his team-high 26 points within that time frame.

“We tried to shake it up,” D’Antoni said. “We had a little bit of it, but by the time it was time for him to get back in, the game was out of hand. I went with young guys.”

D’Antoni was referring to Ryan Kelly and Robert Sacre, both whom showed better defensive effort and likely fit more within the team’s long-term plans. Kaman signed with the Lakers this offseason at the mini mid-level exception worth $3.2 million, saying recently that he should have researched more about how D’Antoni’s offense would feature him before joining on board. Kaman also took issue with D’Antoni’s thought process.

“I don’t know if that’s a fair assessment of any player,” Kaman said. “It’s hard to go in for five minutes and not know it’s five and try to get a rhythm going. If I don’t have something going for five minutes, I won’t play the rest of the game and have a chance to redeem anything. He didn’t say anything to me about going with the young guys. But Steve Nash is 40 years old. He stayed with him so I’m not sure that’s par for the course.”

Nash posted four points and six assists in 15 minutes while Kaman had two points, a rebound and a steal in five minutes, 37 seconds. But the circumstances are different. The Lakers only have one traditional point guard in Kendall Marshall, who went scoreless on six missed field goal attempts in 15 minutes. Sacre (14 points on 6 of 11 shooting in 30 minutes) and Kelly (nine points on 4 of 11 shooting in 23 minutes) immediately showed more hustle on defense than Kaman did.

Kaman’s frustration hasn’t simmered after missing a recent 10 game stretch, nursing a sore right foot and missing the beginning of the Lakers’ trip this week to handle a personal matter. But he still had started the three previous games posting double digits.

“It was hard. The way the Lakers organization has us travel is a lot easier than a commercial flight. It’s a frustrating situation all around. Kaman said. “It’s hard for a player to know what to think, do and say. I’m trying to be cool about it and stay positive. But its definitely difficult.”

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Steve Nash reports no setbacks in Lakers’ loss to Minnesota, but unsure about playing status

Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash (10) drives against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9), of Spain, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Minneapolis, Friday, March 28, 2014. The Timberwolves won 143-107. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash (10) drives against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9), of Spain, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Minneapolis, Friday, March 28, 2014. The Timberwolves won 143-107. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

MINNEAPOLIS — Only two days beforehand, Steve Nash considered his back so painful that he would not even try to play on the Lakers’ two-game trip.

The concerns no longer rested on whether his body could sustain the physical wear and tear. Instead, the nerve irritation became so bothersome that his workload reduced toward nothing more than spot-up shooting drills.

Yet, there Nash was on the court in the Lakers’ 143-107 loss Friday to the Minnesota Timberwolves where he posted five points on two of five shooting and six assists in 15 minutes. Both the game and Nash’s stat line proved meaningless, but his on-court presence revealed everything about how he’s still finding purpose in a lost season.

“A guy that wants to play,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni was how he described his 40-year-old point guard. “Obviously he will be rusty and everything. We’ll have to keep monitoring that going forward.”

For once, that progress did not entail Nash making any turns for the worse.

“I wasn’t totally pain free, but I didn’t have one of those, obviously, setbacks that are kind of debilitating,” Nash said. “So, we’ll see. Hopefully I can play again.”

Why Nash played hinged on three factors.

He reported feeling healthy enough to play. The Lakers suffered an additional injury with Xavier Henry sitting out because of increased soreness in his right knee, an injury that has sidelined him for 28 other games this season. Lakers guard Jordan Farmar plans to get reevaluated this weekend in hopes to return late next week after missing the previous six games because of a strained right groin. The Lakers had originally shut Nash down earlier this month in part because they wanted Kendall Marshall and Farmar to have significant minutes so they could properly evaluate how they fit into their long-term plans.

“Frankly I don’t know if I’ll play again or if I play every game (the rest) of the year,” said Nash, his status for the Lakers game Sunday against Phoenix at Staples center an unknown. “The bottom line is right now is this is a situation where I want to play, that’s the only reason I played tonight, but I also want to go into this summer healthy.”
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Kevin Love downplays talk about joining the Lakers

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love cheers his teammates from the bench during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Minneapolis, Friday, March 28, 2014. The Timberwolves won 143-107. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love cheers his teammates from the bench during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Minneapolis, Friday, March 28, 2014. The Timberwolves won 143-107. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

MINNEAPOLIS — Kevin Love provided something depressing for the Lakers, and it went beyond the Minnesota Timberwolves handing them a 143-107 loss Friday at Target Center with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, his second triple double of the season.

He also poured cold water on the Lakers’ hope that they could acquire him as a free agent in the 2015 offseason.

So much for being born in Santa Monica, playing at UCLA and spending his summers in Los Angeles that entails the beach volleyball circuit.

“You know, my parents live there and they had me there. It’s not my fault,” Love said. “So, I don’t really care about that right now. I just go out there and play and don’t think about it.”
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