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Lakers vs. Cavaliers Preview: The stage is set for Kobe Bryant and LeBron James

This is the end of Kobe-LeBron. If Kobe plays, that is.

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers are riding high, rolling with the momentum of back-to-back wins after an impressive outing from the young core against the Orlando Magic. Energy should continue rising with a big game on the slate as Kobe Bryant and LeBron James go head-to-head one last time. Two once-in-a-generation talents close the book on their on-court battles as the Cleveland Cavaliers visit Staples Center.

It's something already touched on when Kobe played his final game in Cleveland, but the two superstars are tied together if only because we'll never know what could have been. Prime No. 24 Kobe and LeBron in an NBA Finals series is a hoop head's dream we'll only ever have a chance to recreate in NBA 2K games now, but that doesn't take away from the gravity that seems to come with any game they play together. There's closure coming in this game.

That is, if Kobe plays. Bryant sat out of the Lakers' victory over Orlando, resting his sore right shoulder. There's a fairly decent chance he wanted to hold off for his wounded wing just so he could make sure he's available for a primetime game on TNT with LeBron, but his status remains unclear as it likely will for the remainder of the season.

The Lakers are catching the Cavaliers on the second half of a back-to-back, following up their game in Sacramento against the Kings. This is one of the biggest games left in the farewell tour, so enjoy it and the remaining 17 games of the season. It's all slipping away so quickly.

Time: 7:30 p.m. PT


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