The Los Angeles Lakers are drowning in a seven-game losing streak, while the Chicago Bulls face a bevy of injuries that have them trying to keep the boat from sinking. Joakim Noah is out for the year after separating his shoulder, Nikola Mirotic is out for approximately a month after undergoing an appendectomy, and both Kirk Hinrich and Derrick Rose are dealing with leg injuries. Rose is expected to play, while Hinrich is doubtful.
The Lakers received good news after Julius Randle reported soreness in his left leg. Follow-up evaluations came back negative, and he's considered probable to play against the Bulls.
The big story will be Pau visiting Staples Center, especially if Kobe Bryant is available to play after sitting out against the Dallas Mavericks with a sore right shoulder. The Lakers do play the Bulls in Chicago later in the season, but whether both veteran players will be available to play is anybody's guess, and it's not under the roof they brought championship glory to. The nostalgia is already real, with players like Metta World Peace and Nick Young reminiscing on their time with Gasol in purple and gold:
Metta World Peace offering a tear-jerker quote on Pau Gasol. Metta: "I’m so grateful for Pau. He forever has a spot in my heart."— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) January 28, 2016
Nick Young on Pau Gasol: "That’s my dawg. Remember when he did the three fingers with me?!" Yes we do .... https://t.co/LGdU8B06O4— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) January 28, 2016
A basketball game will be played, the Lakers will probably lose -- percentages! -- and we'll all trudge on to the next one on Friday against the Clippers. Gasol loved the city of Los Angeles, and the fans loved him back, even if it was tough love at times. Enjoy the history that'll be in the air, especially since TNT has the steering wheel for this broadcast.
Time: 7:30 p.m. PT