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Lakers Vs. Bobcats: Matt Barnes Cleared To Play Tonight

The Los Angeles Lakers will attempt to win their sixth straight game tonight against the Charlotte Bobcats, and they will do so with some help. Forward Matt Barnes, who has missed 24 games after right knee surgery, will dress tonight and is expected to play, according to Mike Trudell of NBA.com. The Lakers went 16-8 in the 24 games without Barnes.

Barnes averaged 7.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest this season, shooting 47.4% from the field and 34.1% from three-point range in 20.8 minutes per contest. The Lakers were 27-11 when Barnes was hurt against New Orleans on January 7. The Lakers bench scoring was largely unaffected with Barnes out, as the Lakers reserves averaged 29.3 points per game before Barnes went out, and has averaged 29.5 points per contest since.

The Lakers have been largely using a three-guard rotation to replace Barnes' minutes, rather than more time for Luke Walton, so the return of Barnes will give the Lakers added size off the bench. In other injury news, the Lakers announced today that rookie Devin Ebanks has a stress fracture in his right tibia and will miss a minimum of three weeks.

For more information on tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.