The Lakers will enter what could be the final game of their 2012-13 season without Kobe Bryant and four other key players due to injury.
Coach Mike D'Antoni told reporters Saturday that Steve Blake, Steve Nash, Jodie Meeks and Metta World Peace will all sit out Game 4 against the Spurs at the Staples Center on Sunday. San Antonio leads the first-round playoff series 3-0 and will advance to the Western Conference semifinals with a victory.
Nash (back) and Blake (hamstring) both sat out during a 120-89 Game 3 loss on Friday night. Earlier this week, Nash received two epidural injections in his back and a cortisone injection in his right hip while Nash underwent an ultrasound that revealed a moderate strain of his right hamstring. Meeks sprained his left ankle during Game 1 and did not play in Game 2 or Game 3.
World Peace, who underwent knee surgery in March and had fluid drained from his knee earlier this week, finished with 0 points (on o-for-six shooting) and one assist in 17 minutes in Game 3. He will sit Game 4 because of the knee. Bryant, of course, has not been available in the playoffs because of a season-ending Achilles injury.
The Lakers are expected to start Darius Morris, Andrew Goudelock, Earl Clark, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard. Morris had 24 points (on nine-for-15 shooting) and six assists in 37 minutes in Game 3. Goudelock added 20 points (on eight-for-17 shooting) in 41 minutes. San Antonio will be without center Tiago Splitter because of a sprained left ankle.