Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman will start together on Tuesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.
"Better late than never," Gasol said at Tuesday's Los Angeles Lakers shootaround, as the veteran big man has previously hinted that he preferred to play with a bigger lineup. “We’re both active. Our IQ, our experience, our quality should make a difference.”
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni did not sound overly enthusiastic about the switch, but Kaman’s recent production combined with Gasol’s stature within the team forced the decision onto the coach’s shoulders.
“It’s going to affect other people,” D’Antoni lamented. “Somebody’s going to pay for it. So, we’ll see how it goes. We’re going to play two bigs, and we’re going to play Ryan (Kelly) and space the floor.”
The switch means that Jordan Hill and Robert Sacre will fight for time with the second unit. One of those two will likely be the odd man out, and judging by the team’s priorities and recent trends, Hill expects to be the player not to hear his number called on Tuesday.
For the Lakers, a host of players enter the game listed as probable. Xavier Henry is one of those players, and Henry is fighting off a knee injury that soured a sweet start to the season. After two months on the sidelines, the final month of the season is already a start and stop affair for the high-flying shooting guard.
Along with Henry, Steve Nash is also probable to play for the Lakers, but Nash does not expected to start. The 40-year-old point guard is content to play any role, and he is motivated to play before Jordan Farmar returns and takes away the need of a backup point guard.
Farmar is still out with a groin injury, but the former UCLA Bruin was cleared by medical staff on Tuesday. Farmar will resume practice with the hope to return in about a week.
With nine games and 16 days remaining in the 2013-14 Los Angeles Lakers season, the finish line is in view.