The Los Angeles Lakers are in dire need of a victory entering Friday's Game 3 of their Western Conference playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs.
However, their home court may not prove to be much of an advantage if they are unable to get their guard unit out of the infirmary.
Los Angeles is expected to be without its top four backcourt players after starting guards Steve Nash and Steve Blake suffered hamstring injuries in Wednesday's Game 2.
The Lakers are already without superstar Kobe Bryant and top reserve guard Jodie Meeks missed Game 2 with a sprained ankle, making a comeback against the Spurs even more daunting.
San Antonio had its own injury concerns entering the series, but ailing guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili appear to be on the mend after both were hobbled down the stretch.
Parker's performance on Wednesday could be an ominous sign for Los Angeles after he broke loose for 24 of his 28 points in the second half to break the game open.
TV: 9:30 p.m. CT, ESPN, Fox Sports Southwest (San Antonio)
ABOUT THE SPURS: Parker was having the best season of his career until suffering a severely sprained ankle on March 1. He was the driving force during a scintillating stretch in which San Antonio won 16 of 17 games, scoring at least 30 points six times in a span of nine games in which he played to elevate himself into MVP consideration.
Parker has also been fighting knee, shin and neck injuries, but he dominated the second half Wednesday and later admitted it was the best he's felt "by far" since hurting his ankle. "He's getting his rhythm back," said Tim Duncan. "He felt good tonight. He shot the ball well tonight. He looked like Tony of midseason tonight and that's great for us."
ABOUT THE LAKERS: Blake has been ruled out and Nash and Meeks are listed as doubtful for Friday, which fill force the Lakers to rely on second-year guards Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock along with journeyman Chris Duhon, who did not even play Wednesday.
The strategy of forcing the offense through the big men failed when center Dwight Howard encountered foul trouble and scored only six of his 16 points after halftime in Game 2.
Forward Pau Gasol also disappeared in the second half, managing only three points and one rebound following a 16-point, 16-board performance in the opener. Blake could wind up being the hardest player to replace after he buried 17 3-pointers in his last five games.