San Antonio Spurs (40-8) at Los Angeles Lakers (34-15)
Game starts at 7:30 p.m. PST
National TV: TNT; Local TV: Fox Sports West
San Antonio’s Projected Starting Lineup
PG:Tony Parker (17.3 PPG, 6.8 APG, 51.9% shooting)
SG: Manu Ginobili (18.8 PPG, 4.8 APG, 1.81 SPG)
SF: Richard Jefferson (12.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 41.6 3PT%)
PF: DeJuan Blair (7.9 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.19 SPG)
C: Tim Duncan (13.6 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 2.0 BPG)
Key Resevers: George Hill (11.3 PPG), Antonio McDyess (4.9 PPG), Gary Neal (8.5 PPG), Matt Bonner (7.6 PPG)
The Spurs enter tonight’s game on the heels of a 13-point loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, however they still boast the best record in the NBA at 40-8.
The Lakers, on the other hand, are coming off of thrilling 114-106 overtime win against the Houston Rockets, in which the Lakers (Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom) scored at least 20 points. In addition to the wealth of scoring, Bryant, Gasol and Odom all registered double-doubles on the evening. Bryant finished with 11 assists, Gasol with 16 rebounds and Odom with 20 boards of his own.
The win ended a dismal streak of two consecutive home losses for the Lakers, who have been lacking agression struggling with bouts of complacency as of late.
The Lakers will be faced with arguably the best San Antonio offense of the Duncan era – which is averaging 106 PPG on the season, good for sixth among all NBA teams.
The Lakers’ backcourt will undoubtedly have its hands full with the Spurs, as Parker and Ginobili combine for 36.1 PPG, which is second among all starting guard tandems – trailing only Golden State’s Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry, who average a scorching 44.1 PPG.
Although Duncan has been averaging career lows in both points and rebounds this season, he is also playing a career-low 29.3 MPG, in an effort to preserve the soon-to-be 35-year old’s energy and legs for the postseason.
Playing opposite of Duncan, will likely be Gasol, who, as of late, has been struggling with asserting his presence in the post. In a recent interview, Bryant spoke on the topic of Gasol’s lack of agression, telling reporters: “When I’m out there being aggressive and doing my thing, he needs to follow suit and just be just as aggressive which is hard for him because it’s kind of against his nature .. He’s a very white swan. I need him to be black swan,” said Bryant.
As the Lakers look to gain momentum as they move deeper into the second half of their schedule and make that final push before the playoffs begin, there’s no questioning whether the team with the league’s best record will provide them with a well-fought challenge.
On a positive note for the Lakers, center Andrew Bynum will play tonight after missing Tuesday night’s game against the Houston Rockets.