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Lakers vs. Spurs Game Preview: The final stretch of the season has arrived

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Are you SURE you're ready for the last 27 games of Kobe Bryant's career?

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers are in a very deep hole, the only light remaining a faint ray that reaches the depths of they've fallen head over heels into. The trade deadline came and went, and the Lakers stood pat, as several reports suggested in the final hours leading up to what was a quiet close to the All-Star break. The players, and coaches, who've put together the atrocious 11-44 record are the same ones to close out the last 27 games of the year. Prepare.

Head coach Byron Scott has hinted that lineup changes are on the horizon with the deadline and break now in the rear view mirror, but he's yet to commit to a timeline. Larry Nance, Jr. is expected to make his return after resting a sore right knee leading up to the play stoppage, filling in behind Julius Randle who will remain a starter for now.

The San Antonio Spurs put together quite a tribute to Kobe Bryant in Texas, but this will stand as the final time two generational icons clash with Tim Duncan in town. Kobe and the Spurs franchise have some rich history shared, so it's a big one to cross off the list for good.

It'll be nice to see if the time away from nightly bludgeonings helped bring in a fresh breeze into the stale air that's become a smoggy haze inside of Staples Center. Resetting things and focusing on the final stretch of play is important for everyone involved. For a player like Roy Hibbert, it's his last shot at improving his free agent value before hitting the open market. For the youth, it's the final games they'll get together before everything shuts down until Summer League. For Kobe, it's about ending the season as healthy as possible so he can squeeze every drop of juice left out of the vineyard he's spent 20 years tending.

The end is near, so enjoy the games while you can.

Time: 7:30 p.m. PT

TV: TWCSN, FSSW