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Kobe and Nash playing against Sacramento Kings

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Both Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash are expected to play against the Sacramento Kings. Fortunate news for the Los Angeles Lakers who are fighting for their playoff chances.

USA TODAY Sports

Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash are both playing against the Sacramento Kings Saturday night, reports Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News. While Bryant was considered "probable" and Nash "questionable" the Los Angeles Lakers will have both as they try to finish out the final nine games of the season strong.

Having held the eighth seed for a short-span, the Lakers are back to where they were before -- on the outside looking in. The Utah Jazz have once again taken hold of the eighth seed after their victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday. While the Lakers and Jazz do share the same record, the Jazz own the tiebreaker and if they finish with the same win-loss totals will be in the playoffs while the Lakers watch the Phoenix Suns take their draft pick to the lottery.

There are nine games left in the Lakers' season, and no games are left as "gimmes". With the Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, and a road game up the coast to see the Portland Trail Blazers, the Lakers will have to play at an exceedingly high level to reclaim the eighth seed.

Nash had been struggling with a hip spasm that kept him out of the end of the Lakers' loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, while Bryant played through a bone spur in his left foot but was visibly limping to close out the game. Los Angeles will need both players performing at near peak levels in order to push back into the playoffs, as the purple and gold are already shorthanded with the loss of Metta World Peace for at least six weeks.

So, good news: Nash and Bryant playing. Bad news: these last nine games are going to be a gauntlet to run through, and should either player have their injuries flare up again it could spell disaster to a season full of strife.

- Drew

- Follow this author on Twitter @DrewGarrisonSBN