Lakers News and Rumors Recap: So Close, Yet Maybe Tonight?
With a record of 15-20, five games below .500, hope looks bleak for the Lakers. With the way things are going right now in the West, the team needs to win 2/3rds of their games for even a shot at the playoffs as the eighth seed. Ideally, I would like for them to make an impact and start tonight against the Thunder. You have got to have faith, am I right?
The Thunder (27-8) will be lead by their powerhouse duo, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Durant is putting up 28.1 points, a career-high 4.2 assists, and 7.8 rebounds per game while Westbrook is averaging 21.8 points, 8.5 assists (career high), and 5.1 rebounds per game. The last time the Lakers played the Thunder, they lost 114-108 loss in Oklahoma.
Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol are still both out for tonight. Dwight has a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Gasol took a blow to the nose by the Nuggets’ JaVale McGee and sustained a concussion that forced him to leave the game. Overall, injuries have been the most common issue for this Lakers team. Nash, Howard and Gasol have all missed time during the first-half of the season and have only had limited minutes on the floor together.
The NBA trade deadline of Feb. 21 is just over six weeks away. If Pau Gasol is going to move, it will be soon. With the threat of Clark, especially if he does well tonight and proves he isn’t a one-hit-wonder, the chances of Gasol being sent somewhere else will increase. But in general, the Buss family does not intend to break up this Lakers team, even with the flack they have been getting. As Jim Buss puts it:
“This team is built to win, it’s a very, very solid team. We haven’t seen them all together and play together for multiple games. So in my mind, we would not consider a temporary fix or blow it up. Why blow up something we have a future with?”
It goes without saying, many Lakers fans have not become Buss supporters this season. But Phil Jackson, too, has faith in this roster, and I believe that is something more L.A. fans can get behind. The former Lakers coach said that he still believes the Lakers can make the post-season. And I think that is hope enough to keep Lakers fans going.
OKC’s Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Thabo Sefolosha
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: Serge Ibaka
C: Kendrick Perkins
G: Kevin Martin F: Nick Collison
Oklahoma City Thunder (27-8) at at Los Angeles Lakers (15-20)
7:30 PM PST, January 12, 2013
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: Time Warner Sports Network
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)
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