Can the Lakers Reach the NBA Finals with a Defense-Less Approach?

The Los Angeles Lakers immediately got better with Steve Nash's return on Saturday night, and the team's ability to get a 118-115 win over the Golden State Warriors in spite of Dwight Howard's foul trouble and Kobe Bryant's 41 shots from the field is proof of that.

Nash kept the Lakers offense in a rhythm regardless of who was on the floor, and even though Bryant's shot total was only five fewer than the 46 he took in his memorable 81-point outburst, most of his shot attempts came within the flow of the offense.

After missing 24 games, Nash provided a glimpse of the offensive juggernaut the Lakers can become under his steady hand, but keep in mind the Warriors did score 115 points of their own, and guard Jarrett Jack may have had one of the best games of his career with 29 points and 11 assists.

Most came at the expense of Nash.

If that's not enough, fellow point guard Stephen Curry scored 20 points as well, and Klay Thompson chipped in with 18 points.

If you're keeping count, that's a combined 67 points from the Warriors' perimeter players, which illustrates a very different type of issue surrounding Nash's return.

The Lakers' perimeter defense wasn't very good when Nash was out with an injury, but his return might possibly make their overall defense even worse.

Jack is a decent player, but he's not a star. Unfortunately for the Lakers, most of the other point guards they will have to conquer if they hope to reach the NBA Finals are.

The top two teams in the West feature two of the league's best point guards in Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul, and the No. 3 San Antonio Spurs have a pretty good one of their own in Tony Parker.

Notice a theme?

The Lakers' most pressing concern going forward may be their poor perimeter defense, and each of the three top teams in the West excel at point guard play.


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