Two-time NBA most valuable player Steve Nash will play as a Los Angeles Laker at Staples Center for the first time tonight in a preseason game against the Utah Jazz.
“It will be great to get in the building and see the other side of things before the regular season starts,” the 6 foot, 3 inch 38-year old point guard said.
Nash and the Lakers’ other three regular-season starters — Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace — will play in the first half and at the start of the second, coach Mike Brown said.
Center Dwight Howard, the team’s other big-name off-season acquisition, remains unable to play as he continues to recover from off-season back surgery.
Rookie Robert Sacre is expected to start at center for the third consecutive game.
Nash was acquired by the Lakers July 10 in a sign-and-trade deal with the Phoenix Suns. He said he signed with the Lakers to remain “very close to my children in Phoenix” and because the Lakers are “a terrific franchise” and Los Angeles is “a great place to live.”
Bryant described Nash as “the conductor” of the Lakers.
“He makes everything go,” Bryant said following Friday’s practice at the team’s El Segundo headquarters. “He lines everybody up in the right spots. He knows if a guy hasn’t gotten a touch, he knows how to orchestrate the system already to give them touches.”
With the Lakers having sold out their past 273 regular-season and playoff home games at Staples Center over the past five seasons, preseason games are often the best chance for fans to buy tickets. Tonight’s game is close to a sell out, but tickets are remaining, John Black, the Lakers’ vice president of public relations, told City News Service on Friday.