After a last-second loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers returned to practice this morning. With four straight losses, the Lakers open a crucial four-game home stand against the Philadelphia 76ers. While the Lakers are only 3.5 games out of the final spot in the Western Conference, they will need to capitalize against these four opponents (Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Utah Jazz, and Denver Nuggets) that have a combined record of 37-80.
In the loss to the Jazz, Pau Gasol did not play due to an upper respiratory infection while Chris Kaman suffered a left ankle sprain. Both will be game-time decisions against the 76ers on Sunday according to head coach Mike D’Antoni:
RT @Mike_Bresnahan: Kaman and Gasol game-time decisions Sunday vs. Philly.
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) December 28, 2013
Although the swelling on Kaman’s ankle isn’t too bad, Jordan Hill and/or Robert Sacre will get the start if both players aren’t able to go:
If neither Gasol or Kaman play vs. Philadelphia, plan is to start Jordan Hill and/or Robert Sacre
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) December 28, 2013
While they have struggled with injuries, D’Antoni feels the Lakers are ready to turn the corner and starting winning games again:
D’Antoni: “These guys have played with focus and purpose and we feel we’re ready to turn the corner.”
— janis carr (@janiscarr) December 28, 2013
For the second consecutive season, the Lakers have been marred with injuries. While the Lakers were embarrassed by an average of 23 points against the Suns and Warriors, they have looked much better with the return of Jordan Farmar. Although there’s still more than half a season left, this is the Lakers’ most important stretch if they want to remain in playoff contention.
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