Spurs vs Lakers Preview - 02/08/2010
Back spasms forced Kobe Bryant to miss the fourth quarter of a loss at San Antonio last month. It's uncertain if his latest injury will keep him out entirely against the Spurs this time.
Bryant could miss his second straight game as the Los Angeles Lakers face the Spurs on Monday night at Staples Center .
Bothered by a sore left ankle he originally suffered at Philadelphia on Jan. 29, Bryant sat out Los Angeles ' 99-82 win at Portland on Saturday. It was the first game the 12-time All-Star missed since March 7, 2007, because of a suspension.
Averaging 28.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists, Bryant was to be evaluated Sunday. It will likely be up to Bryant to determine if he's healthy enough to return as the Western Conference-leading Lakers (39-13) try for a fourth consecutive home victory over the Spurs.
"I would say he is day-to-day," coach Phil Jackson told the Lakers' official Web site. "We have an opportunity here with two games before the All-Star break and there is some time there if he does need to take a longer time, we're trying to give him the liberty to do that."
Bryant, who hasn't missed back-to-back contests since the sitting out the first two games of the 2006-07 season with a knee injury, is averaging 28.8 points in his last nine home games against San Antonio .
He scored 16 before leaving for good with back spasms in the third quarter of the Lakers' 105-85 loss at San Antonio on Jan. 12. The Spurs shot 57.3 percent overall and outscored Los Angeles ' 30-22 in the fourth quarter.
The Lakers, though, proved it can win without Bryant. Ron Artest had 21 points and Lamar Odom matched a career high with 22 rebounds against Portland . Los Angeles held the Trail Blazers to 43.7 percent shooting and outrebounded them 47-30
"We reacted well," said forward Pau Gasol, who missed the January loss to San Antonio with a hamstring injury. "We played hard, we played well."
The Lakers will try to avoid a second straight loss at Staples Center after having their eight-game home winning streak snapped in a 126-113 loss to Denver on Friday. Los Angeles, though, has held San Antonio to 92.4 points on 40.5 percent shooting while winning four of five at home over the Spurs.
The Spurs (29-20) won't have to travel for this contest after beating the Los Angeles Clippers 98-81 on Saturday at Staples to improve to 2-1 in a season-high eight-game road trip. George Hill had 22 points and Tony Parker added 14 with 14 assists in his second game back from missing three with a sprained left ankle.
In his second season, Hill has emerged of late, averaging 17.1 points on 50.8 percent shooting while starting the last 10 games.
"George Hill's just a fantastic basketball player," coach Gregg Popovich said of the club's 2008 first-round pick who averaged 5.7 points during his rookie season. "We're really thrilled with his progress in his shooting and his approach to the game."
Tim Duncan had 25 points with 13 rebounds, Parker added 22 and Hill 13 last month against the Lakers. Duncan , though, has a combined 31 points in his last two road games versus Los Angeles .
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Full name is Brandon L. Rush... Born July 7, 1985... Undecided major... Brother, Kareem, was a two-time All-Big 12 First Team selection at Missouri in 2001 and 2002 and has played four seasons in the NBA... Brother, JaRon, played collegiately at UCLA... Was ranked No. 13 overall and No. 2 small forward, behind KU teammate Julian Wright, by Rivals.com... Brandon Rush pulled out of the NBA draft in summer of 2005 and joined the KU team in August... Twice named an all-star at the Reebok ABCD Camp and was the 2004 ABCD Camp most valuable player while playing for AAU KS Rocktown... Brandon Rush was a late addition to the USA Men's Junior National select team at the ninth annual Hoop Summit in Memphis, Tenn., following the 2004-05 season.
Check out Jrue Holiday, the 6-3 sophomore shooting guard from North Hollywood (Calif.) Campbell Hall, one of the elite guards in the west, regardless of class...
Jrue Holiday, the 6-3 sophomore shooting guard from North Hollywood (Calif.) Campbell Hall, is seen here in action from a CIF playoff game last week.
Jrue Holiday is #21 in white, not to be confused with his older brother, 6-6 junior Justin Holiday, who is #22.
DeMarcus Cousins is a big PF who averaged 26 pts, 15 rebounds, 10 assists, 70% FG and 80% FT per game as a freshman in high school last year. DeMarcus Cousins has developing post moves, is an excellent rebounder, and a solid athlete. DeMarcus Cousins' ability to overpower players gives him a very high ceiling. DeMarcus Cousins has a 7'3" wingspan and 9'0" standing reach. DeMarcus Cousins is very raw. DeMarcus Cousins needs to work on his footwork and decision making mostly. DeMarcus Cousins offense is coming along fine, but he needs to become more of a leader on defense. DeMarcus Cousins consistency is also a problem against top competition.
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