When the Los Angeles Lakers begin their seven-game road trip tonight in New Orleans, they will be facing a Hornets' team without their starting center. Emeka Okafor is out with a left oblique strain suffered on Sunday in Phoenix. Okafor, who is averaging 11.1 points and 10.3 rebounds per game this season, is expected to miss up to three weeks.
Prior to missing Tuesday's game, Okafor had a streak of 306 consecutive games played, with was the fourth-longest active streak in the NBA. Derek Fisher of the Lakers has the longest active streak in the league at 463 games, including 341 straight starts.
In the Lakers' 103-88 win in New Orleans on December 29, they outrebounded the Hornets, with Okafor, 44-24. In the rematch in Los Angeles on January 7, the Lakers won again, but the margin was closer (101-97), thanks to the Hornets outrebounding the Lakers 39-38. Okafor had 13 points and 13 rebounds in that contest. Here is a look at tonight's probable starting lineups and injury reports for both teams:
- Point Guard: Derek Fisher
- Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant
- Small Forward: Ron Artest
- Power Forward: Pau Gasol
- Center: Andrew Bynum
Bynum, who missed Tuesday's game against Houston with a bone bruise in his left knee, is listed as probable tonight. Bynum played Thursday against the Spurs, and 10 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks, and a career-high six assists.
Point Guard: Chris Paul
Shooting Guard: Marco Belinelli
Small Forward: Trevor Ariza
Power Forward: David West
Center: Jason Smith
Ariza is listed as questionable with a right ankle sprain.
For more information on tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.