March 1, 2012 Leave a comment
The Lakers open the second half of the NBA season against a much improved Minnesota squad sitting at a record of 18-17. Here are 5 key story lines for tonight’s game against the Timberwolves:
Lakers and Kobe playing Head Games
The big question tonight is, will Kobe’s concussion keep him out of the lineup? If it’s up to Mamba, no chance. But the NBA has adopted a stricter concussion policy meaning Bryant has to pass league-mandated tests before he’s allowed to step foot on the hardwood for the Lakers. Something tells Laker Magic that Kobe will be out there when the opening whistle sounds Wednesday night at Staples Center.
Minnesota has been “Minne-so-tough”
Having already passed last season’s win total of 17, Minnesota has been an incredibly tough opponent this season. The Clippers learned this last night as both Derrick Williams and Michael Beasley were unstoppable in the 4th quarter as the T’Wolves defeated the Clippers. The Lakers get the luxury of being well-rested while playing Minnesota on the second night of a back-to-back though and have also beat them 16 straight times. They should continue that win streak.
February 29th is Leap Day for Lakers
On this 29th of February, 2012 the Lakers have a chance to gain a full game on the idle Clippers if they should beat Minnesota. That would put them just a half game out of 1st in the Pacific Division. Furthermore, a Dallas loss coupled with a Lakers win would result in the Lakers leap-frogging the Mavericks for the #4 seed in the West. A lot is on the line tonight.
Michael Beasley in “Beas-Mode”
Tonight forward Michael Beasley gets a shot to “audition” for the Lakers, who are said to be very interested in acquiring him for their trade exception. Perhaps Beasley was a day early, as he went off for 27 points against the Clippers on 11-15 shooting and a perfect 3-3 from long-range. What are you waiting for Mitch Kupchak?
T’Wolves, All you need is Love
To contend with the Lakers Twin Towers of Bynum and Gasol, the T’Wolves will definitely need all-star Kevin Love to suit up on Wednesday night. Love suffered a rib injury Tuesday night that sent him to the locker room for x-rays. While he’s expected to play, he may end up being a game-time decision like Kobe.