The Los Angeles Lakers look to win their fifth straight game tonight as they host the reeling Cleveland Cavaliers at Staples Center. The Lakers won their fourth straight Sunday night against the Knicks at home, pulling away in the second half for a convincing 109-87 victory. The Lakers won't face nearly as difficult a foe tonight, as the Cavs have been struggling mightily of late.
The Cavaliers started their season 7-9, but have lost 20 of 21 games since then, including dropping their last 10 straight games. The Cavs did sweep the season series last season against the Lakers, but that squad was a tad bit different than this year, with one LeBron James in the fold. Cleveland has lost 16 straight games on the road.
Andrew Bynum asserted himself on the offensive end on Sunday night against the Knicks, scoring 18 points in just 25 minutes, making eight of his 15 field goal attempts. He was joined in the middle by Pau Gasol, who tallied 20 points and 14 rebounds, and Lamar Odom, who scored 13 points and grabbed a season-high 18 boards off he bench. Those three players for the Lakers had nearly as many rebounds (39) as did the entire Knicks' team (42).
The Lakers will have their hands full with the Cavs, who are third in the NBA in offensive rebounds allowed, at 9.5 per game. Or perhaps they would have their hands full, if Anderson Varejao were active. He is out for the season for the Cavs with a torn tendon in his right foot. The Lakers are second in the league in rebounding, averaging 44.6 per game.
Tonight is the first game of back-to-back contests for the Lakers, who travel to Oakland to battle Golden State on Wednesday night. The Lakers are 5-2 in the first game of back-to-back contests this season, including 3-0 at home. Forward Matt Barnes underwent successful surgery on his right knee this morning, and is expected to miss up to eight weeks. Tonight's 7:30 p.m. PST tip-off will be televised on Fox Sports West.
For more info on tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.