OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma (Sporting Alert) — The Los Angeles Lakers will again be without star forward Pau Gasol for Friday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder here at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.
L.A. Lakers at Oklahoma City
When: 9:30 PM ET, Friday, December 7, 2012
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Live on ESPN and Live Streaming on WatchESPN.com, ESPN3.com
There were hopes that Gasol, who is still being bothered by knee tendinitis, would have been able to play after claiming that he is feeling better.
However, the Lakers announced on its official website at www.lakers.com, that despite his improvement, it wasn’t worth the risk of rushing him back.
Los Angeles (9-10) are coming off a comfortable 103-87 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night, a game in which Kobe Bryant reached 30,000 points in his career and he’s hoping to close out the road trip with another win against an impressive Thunder (15-4) which knocked them out of the playoffs last season.
The Thunder are blessed with a host of talents, despite the departure of James Harden, but Bryant singled out the speedy point guard Russell Westbrook and scoring machine Kevin Durant, as the two individuals who have attracted the most notice.
In fact, he sees a little of himself in the pair.
“They just don’t give a (hoot). That’s really it,” Bryant said. “Not too many players have had that.
“Michael (Jordan) had it. I had it. Durant has it. Westbrook has it. They just don’t care about pressure situations or criticism.”
Oklahoma City, which is 9-2 at home going into Friday night’s contest, is coming off a 117-111 win at the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday and will start big time favourites to go 10-2 after the game.
The Lakers continue to be without star point guard Steve Nash, who is still injured and back-up Steve Blake, who is also out because of an injury.
Dwight Howard and Antawn Jamison, who is starting in Gasol’s place and scored 15 points in his last two games are both looking good and could cause the Thunder problems.
All-in-all, Scott Brooks’ side is definitely the hot favorite to knock-off another LA side, this after beating the Los Angeles Clippers in overtime in November.