LOS ANGELES (Sporting Alert) – It’s LeBron James v Kobe Bryant, as the Los Angeles Lakers host the defending champion Miami Heat at Staples Center.
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All eyes though, will be on Dwight Howard to see if the star center will be able keeping his impressive showing since returning from injury.
Los Angeles has won six of its last seven matchups against teams in the East.
Pau Gasol will come off the bench tonight, despite Lakers (17-21) coach Mike D’Antoni saying the star forward would go straight back into the starting line-up when he returned.
In fact, D’Antoni said “Gasol’s minutes will likely be limited, but will judge how it looks on the floor,” according the team’s game report.
Gasol doesn’t care about starting he just wants to be back playing.
He said he feels better and is looking forward to playing again.
“I feel better – a lot better, actually,” he said on Lakers.com after a workout session on Wednesday. “I feel 100 percent now.
“Got a good workout in today and everything felt good. Tomorrow will be a go.”
Lakers have won three in a row and Bryant is ready to see how much the team has improved in the last few weeks.
He said facing the defending champions at home is a big test.
“It’s a good measuring stick for us to see how much we’ve improved since last week, when we played against several top teams and they all beat us,” he said.
“This is a big test with the defending champs coming to town.”
Miami Heat (25-12) head into the contest in high spirit, following a 92-75 win over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.
James comes into the game on the back of becoming the youngest player in NBA history to reach 20,000 career points during the win over the Warriors.