5:00 p.m. PDT
The Los Angeles Lakers' road trip continues on, their next stop pitting them against the Minnesota Timberwolves. After three-straight losses the Lakers could use a win against the Wolves to stop the bleeding. Bleeding that has only gotten worse even though they haven't been in action since Monday as news that Metta World Peace would be out at least six weeks due to knee surgery after tearing a lateral meniscus in his left knee.
Winning is far from an option at this point as they try to maintain their slipping hold on the eight seed in the Western Conference. Both the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks are nipping at the Lakers' heels, each team just a game back from Los Angeles.
Without World Peace the Lakers will shift Kobe Bryant up to the three slot and insert Jodie Meeks at shooting guard. This likely means we'll see plenty of Steve Blake at shooting guard as well, which isn't necessarily a terrible thing as the Stevii back-court hasn't been terrible thus far. Still, the Lakers are an old team at the end of an exhausting season, and losing a player in World Peace who averaged 34 minutes per game won't be an easy obstacle to overcome.
With the amount of injuries, lineup changes, and rotational changes the Lakers have faced this season it's difficult to imagine the team will be ready once again to adjust. Kobe stated the team was "out of sync" in the loss to Golden State, and now they've lost one of the few players who has been consistently available if nothing else.
The Timberwolves haven't had much luck on the injury front either. Bringing Ricky Rubio back mid-season after he tore his ACL last season, Kevin Love's hand injuries, and Brandon Roy's knees being Brandon Roy's knees have all damaged their season. The Wolves have won 25 games this season and have put up the lowest winning percentage of any Rick Adelman coached team. They are 30th in the league in three-point shooting percentage at 30 percent.
All reasons the Lakers should do everything in their power to put this game away as fast as possible and get this game behind them. This is the first half of their back-to-back which ends in Milwaukee, and as we know they have yet to sweep a back-to-back series all season.
After riding momentum into the eighth slot of the playoffs the Lakers have regressed back to the season-long drudge. Much like when they were heading into the Grammy road trip, the Lakers are once again at a state where they must win in the present to preserve the future. It doesn't necessarily matter how it happens, it just needs to happen.
When it rains it pours, and it's been nothing but clouds all season for the Lakers. The few rainbows that have appeared haven't had a pot of gold at the end, just another puddle being formed as the weather shifts back.
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- Canis Hoopus is the opposing blog tonight.
More on the Lakers:
- Kobe Bryant's defensive hypocrisy knows no bounds - Silver Screen and Roll
- World Peace out six weeks 'at least' with knee surgery - Silver Screen and Roll
- When will Kobe Bryant be blamed for the Lakers' complacency? - Silver Screen and Roll
- Lakers x Game of Thrones sigil fun - Silver Screen and Roll