The Los Angeles Lakers host the New York Knicks on Tuesday night at Staples Center, and the drama of whether Knicks president Phil Jackson and Lakers president Jeanie Buss, who are engaged to one another, should attend the game together may overshadow the contest in the lead up.
However, the game on the court involves non-playoff teams mostly playing for pride. Okay, the Knicks have an outside shot at the postseason, but even then, every player on the court during Tuesday's game is playing for next season and his future.
For the Lakers, this season has been marred by injuries from the start, and 69 games in, nothing much has changed. With Pau Gasol, who suffered vertigo during Sunday’s game and spent a night in the hospital, doubtful for the contest, Chris Kaman expects to earn a rare start. Kaman has not played in any of the last 10 games.
Steve Nash is also in doubt after irritating his nerve root a couple games ago, but the injury news is not all bad.
Coming off a win, something that has not been a regular occurrence, the Lakers receive a boost with the return of Xavier Henry. Henry tore ligaments in his left wrist, which is his shooting hand, but he was determined not to miss any further time this season following an elongated stretch on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Henry was forced to sit out Sunday’s win over the Orlando Magic, as the injury occurred on Friday night and Henry could not be examined before Monday. After the examination confirmed what Henry already knew, he vowed to ignore the pain in his wrist and play on Tuesday.
After a horrid season, the Knicks have surged lately. Prior to Sunday’s loss to Cleveland, Carmelo Anthony and company had won eight games in a row. Although only one of those eight wins came against a playoff team, that lone victory over the East-leading Indiana Pacers deserved the raised eyebrows.
The Lakers have been more accustomed to putting up losing streaks this season, but their recent victories over the Oklahoma City Thunder and at Portland provide the team and fans hope regardless of the opposition.
With 13 games to go in a Lakers' season that has gone on for two months too long, on Tuesday night, the Knicks come to visit. Tip-off is 7:30 pm Pacific Time.