Preview: Lakers at Cavaliers
The Los Angeles Lakers seem to be attempting to set a record for the most games lost to injury in a single season. The Lakers will try to make it through one game without losing someone when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. Los Angeles got Steve Nash (back) and Steve Blake (elbow) back on Tuesday but Pau Gasol (groin) missed the game while Jordan Hill (cervical strain) and Jodie Meeks (ankle) both went down in the first half.
The surviving members of the Lakers put up a strong effort and cut a 25-point deficit to single digits in the fourth quarter only to fall 109-99 at Minnesota on Tuesday âÂÂ the teamâÂÂs seventh straight setback. Los Angeles is tied with the Utah Jazz and the Sacramento Kings for the worst record in the Western Conference at 16-32, though that would tie it with Cleveland ahead of four others if the team played in the East. The Cavaliers are losers of five in a row and are returning home after a three-game road trip that saw them fall by an average of 20.7 points.
ABOUT THE LAKERS (16-32): The bright spot through the latest round of players hitting the training table on Tuesday came from Nash, who made his first appearance since Nov. 10 and handed out nine assists to go along with seven points in 25 minutes. The former MVP, who turns 40 on Friday, will likely sit out the second night of the back-to-back on Wednesday. Blake (elbow) played 32 minutes in his first action since Dec. 10 and played through a burst right eardrum suffered in the first half. Blake was cleared to fly with the team after TuesdayâÂÂs game and could be available against Cleveland.
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (16-32): Cleveland is enduring some of the same problems as the Lakers on the defensive end, where it is allowing 109.2 points in the last five games and was crushed 124-107 at Dallas on Monday. âÂÂWe just have to stay positive,âÂÂ Kyrie Irving told reporters. âÂÂThis stretch has definitely been tough and it tests your character and your mental strength. As professionals itâÂÂs our job to go out and play and give it our best effort every single night.âÂÂ The Cavaliers have a chance to snap the slide with three of the next four at home, where they own an 11-12 mark.
1. The Cavaliers earned a 120-118 victory in Los Angeles on Jan. 14 behind 27 points from Luol Deng and have taken three straight in the series at home.
2. Meeks is not expected to play Wednesday and could be out for the remainder of the road trip.
3. Los Angeles G Nick Young has gone over 20 points in back-to-back games despite shooting 35.3 percent in those contests.
PREDICTION: Cavaliers 105, Lakers 98