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Lakers vs. Cavaliers Preview: LeBron James and Kobe Bryant link up before All-Star weekend

Kobe. LeBron. ESPN. No cookies on the line, though.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers close out their four-game road trip with a visit to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, hitting their final contest before All-Star weekend. This could also be the last time we see a few pieces of this Lakers roster playing together, with the trade deadline set for Feb. 18 and their next game coming on the 19th. No trade seems imminent, but 'tis the season for general managers to make their final changes before riding out the year.

The Lakers were somehow in a game where they shot 31.2 percent as a team against Indiana, but even a three-point barrage and 11 straight fourth-quarter points from Kobe Bryant wasn't enough to climb out of that hole. The team has been playing better lately, but their outing against the Pacers was a reminder of how quickly they can go back to looking like the worst team in the league.

The big story, though, is Kobe and LeBron, of course. This won't be their last game competing against each other, but it will be the last time they have this dance in Cleveland. LeBron opened up about how Kobe influenced his career, and there's always going to be a tie between the two superstars. They never competed in the Finals, but that was the dream for many NBA fans for years and years. All that's left is to savor whatever opportunity is left to watch two generational players on the hardwood.

ESPN knows that's the case and will be airing this one nationally. Enjoy the game, and we'll see you during our All-Star weekend and trade deadline coverage!

Time: 5 p.m. PT


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