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Steve Nash Injury Could Expose Lakers' Bench Issues Further

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | If Steve Nash's injury prevents him from suiting up in the battle of Los Angeles against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night at Staples Center, the Los Angeles Lakers could be in serious trouble. The veteran's absence could result in another long night of watching the reserves squander leads, turn the ball over and continue to put tremendous pressure on the starters to be flawless.

According to the Lakers' official Twitter feed, Nash will be a game-time decision as he recovers from a shin contusion suffered in the loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. If he misses time and the Lakers are forced to start Steve Blake and play Chris Duhon, there's no telling how low the second unit will sink in terms of production.

It's already bad enough when the team is at full strength.

A season ago, the bench was bad, scoring an average of 21.3 points per game and was last in the league in that statistic during the regular season. Through just two games in 2012-13, the backups have looked equally disappointing. Head coach Mike Brown has used four bench players at a time for long stretches, and they've been wildly inefficient. On Wednesday, the Lakers were outscored by 20 points with reserve frontcourt players Jordan Hill and Antawn Jamison on the floor.

Even worse is that Portland's bench isn't very good either. But the Lakers are so top-heavy in their own rotation that it didn't make a difference. Without Nash, the Lakers will have to rely even more on a second unit that was largely responsible for an 0-8 preseason. That wasn't a large concern until that same bench was a primary reason for the Lakers' first two losses that actually mattered.

The good news is that it's still early, but that's the only saving grace at this point. Things could get ugly on Friday against a young, deep Clippers squad.

Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Contributor Network Featured Contributor in Sports and covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA as a Southern California-based sports journalist, editor and blogger. He is also the Editor of Sports Out West.

You can follow him on Twitter @MikeJonesTweets

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