The Lakers rested so much of their fortunes on Steve Nash this season that it appeared they didn't know what to do without him.

As Nash sat out for 24 games because of a fractured left leg, Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni saw him becoming the team's offensive savior the same way he did through four seasons with the Phoenix Suns.

Kobe Bryant juggled his high scoring load while also handling the ball.

Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard wondered if they'd ever receive a look inside.

Four months later, the Lakers demonstrated in their win Saturday over the Sacramento Kings that they're more equipped to handle Nash's absence.

They might have to prove they can do that again, beginning Tuesday, when the Lakers host the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center.

Nash played less than two minutes Saturday because of a strained right hamstring that has currently sidelined him day-to-day.

"I'm concerned, but he'll do everything he can to get well," D'Antoni said. "He understands his body and won't push too much."

The Utah Jazz (38-36) have the edge over the Lakers (38-36) for the eighth playoff spot after owning the regular-season tiebreaker with eight games remaining.

The Lakers' playoff fortunes could rest on how they can absorb another Nash injury.

No pressure.

But the Lakers provided a good model against Sacramento. That started with Bryant and Gasol taking over the facilitating duties and becoming the first Laker tandem to post double-digit assists in a game since Bryant and Luke Walton did in an overtime loss to Washington in 2006.