BROOKLYN – How many NBA teams could survive the loss of their starting backcourt for nearly a quarter of the season? How many NBA teams could survive that loss when those two players are future Hall of Famers like Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash?
Through 17 games, you can count the upstart Los Angeles Lakers among those teams. Thanks to an unlikely effective backcourt rotation quartet of Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, Jordan Farmar and Nick Young, the Lakers are 9-8 and hanging around a ruthlessly tough Western Conference.
Would Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni have taken this start knowing Bryant wouldn’t have played a single minute?
“I would have taken it,” he said. “I love this group of guys, they’re playing as hard as they can play and they play well.”
The Lakers didn’t have it easy Wednesday night in Brooklyn but held on for a 99-94 win after blowing a 27-point lead.