Lakers News and Rumors Recap: So Close, Yet Maybe Tonight?

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles LakersWith 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.

For the rest on the pregame report, click here.

OKC’s Projected Starting Lineup:

PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Thabo Sefolosha
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: Serge Ibaka
C: Kendrick Perkins

Key Reserves:

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)


Lakers Nation News

LeBron On Lakers’ Struggles, Criticism: ‘Nowhere Near What We Went Through’

NBA News: Phil Jackson Believes Lakers Can Make Post-Season

Lakers Chemistry Suggestions To Help Promote Team Unity

Lakers Nation Video: Who is Team Forward Earl Clark?

Lakers News: Pau Gasol Still Not Cleared to Play With Concussion

Lakers News: Jim Buss Not Willing to Blow Up Lakers Team

Jim Buss Says Injuries Play Big Role In Lakers’ Chemistry Problems

Lakers Rumors: Team Interested In Tyreke Evans?

Lakers Vs. Thunder Pre-Game Report: Brighter Days Ahead?

Lakers News

The Tipping Point if Coming For Los Angeles [Silver Screen and Roll]

Kobe is Ruining His Own Historic Season [Silver Screen and Roll]

The Lakers Pick and Roll Defense [Silver Screen and Roll]

Pau Gasol Will Not Play Against Oklahoma City Thunder, Earl Clark to Start [Silver Screen and Roll]

Inflection Point [Silver Screen and Roll]

Preview and Chat: The Oklahoma City Thunder [Forum Blue and Gold]

Metta World Peace is a Leader [Inside the Lakers]

Jim Buss: Lakers are Very Solid [ESPN]

Clippers Claim Top Spot as Lakers Continue Free Fall []

Playoffs? It’s Not Looking Good For Lakers [LA Times]

Kobe on the Lakers (Video) [ESPN]

Pau Gasol’s Lingering Concussion Symptoms Keeps Him out vs. Thunder [Inside the Lakers]

Phil Jackson Won’t Be Lakers’ Coach Any Time Soon [Lakers Now]

The Lakers Should Trade Dwight Howard for Dirk Nowitzki [LA Daily News]

Lakers vs Thunder: 5 Things to Watch For [Lakers Index]

Dwight Howard Trade Rumor Time [ESPN]

LeBron, Wade Say They Faced More Pressure than Lakers [ProBasketballTalk]

Earl Clark Breaks Out [LA Times]

Gasol Improves, But Not Cleared [OC Register]

Essay: Trolling Lakers Fans [Shaky Ankles]

Dwight Howard working on conditioning drills since shoulder injury [Inside the Lakers]

Lakers’ Title Hopes are Dead [ESPN Insider]

Do the Lakers Need to Start from Scratch? [ESPN]

Lakers vs Thunder [Lakers Now]

NBA News

Kings Buyer Who Would Keep Team in Sacramento has Made Formal Offer to Maloofs [ProBasketballTalk]

NBA Trade Chips [ESPN Insider]

Doc Rivers Adamantly Denies Garnett Trash-Talking Rumors [Eye On Basketball]

The New Normal: LeBron James in 2013 [Hardwood Paroxysm]

Cavs’ Varejao Undergoes Surgery on Leg Muscle []

Can Hustle Get Harangody Back To NBA? [Hang Time Blog]

Kevin Durant’s New Move [ESPN]

John Wall Ready to go Saturday, Will Be On Minutes Restriction [ProBasketballTalk]

20 Point Streak Ends for James in Loss Heat [ESPN]

Rose Might Join Bulls on Bench vs. Knicks [Chicago Bulls Report]

Shook Ankles: Kevin Durant Is Twice As Nice [Shaky Ankles]

Nate Robinson’s Trash Talk Inspired Brandon Jennings’ Big Game [The Basketball Jones]

Cousins Says Push to face of Carter was “Unintentional.” [ProBasketballTalk]

Knicks to Face Pacers Without Anthony []

Grizzlies Forward Rudy Gay Leaning on NBA Friends Amid Trade Speculation [Yahoo Sports]

Westbrook On Fire After Slow Start [ESPN Insider]

Three Stars of the Night: Heat Checked [ProBasketballTalk]

Kings’ Likely Move Leaves Players, Fans in Limbo []

Kevin Love Expected to Miss at Least Two Months with Broken Hand [Yahoo! Sports]

Daryl Morey Thinks of Himself as Macklemore and Ryan Lewis []

Best in Show: ESPN Double Header [ESPN]

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