The Los Angeles Lakers managed to edge out a tight win against the Indiana Pacers Sunday, but now have to try and do so again, on the road, without Kobe Bryant, against a very good Trail Blazers team. Simple enough, right?
The purple and gold will be extra shorthanded, for what sounds like an extra-long time without Wesley Johnson as well. He suffered a strained hip flexor during the Lakers' win, and his absence will be counted in "weeks not days," according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. That's another wing the Lakers will be without, and another injury to add to the list. This could mean more Nick Young, Wayne Ellington and possibly a chance for Jordan Clarkson.
The hope has to be this won't also mean more minutes for Kobe down the road. Byron Scott is sticking to the maintenance plan right now though, sitting Kobe in this back-to-back instead of scrambling to make sure he's the first player on the plane. The Mamba won't even be making the trip to Portland, in fact, getting a chance to sit back and soak up some more rest.
The Blazers have been very good this season, having a lethal offense and much-improved defense. Damian Lillard is a cold blooded killer on the court, and LaMarcus Aldridge continues doing his thing as the Jaeger of the Pacific Rim. This will be a challenging game for the Lakers after a tough game against the Pacers.
Enjoy the game, which should be an interesting experience considering the Lakers' lack of wing depth going into the contest.
Time: 7 p.m.