The Los Angeles Lakers are in need of a win against a good team, and there has been none better in the NBA than the San Antonio Spurs this season. The Lakers welcome the Spurs, owners of the NBA's best record at 40-8, to Staples Center tonight, in their final home game before embarking on a seven-game road trip. The Spurs handled the Lakers rather easily on December 28 in San Antonio, which came three days after a bad home court loss by the Lakers to the Miami Heat.
Tonight's contest comes four days after the Lakers were throttled by the Boston Celtics at home. It seems foolish to say that a two-time defending NBA champ has something to prove, but the Lakers do. They are 34-15, a half game up on Dallas for the second seed in the Western Conference, so they aren't in dire straits, but right now a return trip to the NBA Finals seems so far away for the Lakers. The Lakers have the fifth-best record in the league, and the Mavericks are sixth. The Lakers' record this season against the other top five teams in the NBA (Spurs, Celtics, Heat, Bulls, Mavs) is a paltry 1-5, including 1-2 at home. The Lakers are in need of a victory against an elite team, and a win over the Spurs would be just that.
Andrew Bynum is questionable tonight with a bone bruise in his left knee, the same injury suffered against Boston that forced him to miss Tuesday's overtime win over Houston. In Bynum's absence, Lamar Odom had a season-high 20 rebounds, and Pau Gasol grabbed 16 boards, his third-highest total of the season.
While the Lakers are about to embark on their annual "Grammy Road Trip," the Spurs have already started their "Rodeo Road Trip." Tonight is the second game of a nine-game trek for San Antonio, who will travel roughly 8,965 miles over 17 days. They dropped the first game of their trip, Tuesday night in Portland to the Blazers. Tonight's game will be televised on TNT.
For more news on tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.