NBA

LA Lakers coach admits Nash key to potential playoff upset

The Lakers need Nash on the floor (©GettyImages)
The Lakers need Nash on the floor (©GettyImages).

LA Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni has conceded his side will need a healthy Steve Nash on the floor if they're to have a chance against the San Antonio Spurs.

The Lakers slipped to a 91-79 loss to the Spurs in Game 1 of their opening playoff series, with Nash limited by an injury caused by nerve damage in his right hamstring.

After the match Nash admitted he was feeling "soreness" from the hip injury, but was able to take part in light practice ahead of Game 2 on Wednesday.

And D'Antoni admits his side's hopes of a playoff series win hinge on the point guard's fitness.

"He gives us that threat on the floor that's good and I think he'll get better as the leg gets better," D'Antoni told ESPN on Monday. "We're not going to do it without him. He'll battle through some injuries that he has, but he'll be ready to go Wednesday."

His appearance in Game 1 was his first outing in nine games as the Lakers hoped to get Nash back fully fit for the playoffs.

Despite the niggling complaint he managed 16 points, provided three assists and gave up just one turnover.

With Kobe Bryant ruled out for the playoffs with an achilles injury, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol have carried the load for the Lakers.

But while Nash admitted he didn't "feel like myself" in Game 1, he intends to follow his coach and help the team out in Game 2.

"I'm not worried about the soreness," Nash said. "It just is what it is. I'm going to have to fight through some soreness and some pain and I'm not going to be able to move as well as I would like, but I'm going to have to make the most of it and do what I can to help.

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