The reigning champions are probably the last team the
The Lakers are also without
The Spurs will play without
The Spurs are still
Leonard is a high-level perimeter defender, who is also a capable scoring threat. He represents the Spurs' future, and is readily stepping into that role.
San Antonio will likely match up Leonard up against
Bryant's 27.5 points a night is tops in the league, although he's shooting a career-worst 38.8%.
Leonard is averaging 13.8 points while shooting 42.6%.
The Lakers have struggled defensively this season. They'll need to deal with Parker, who is adept at getting to the paint.
Parker's scoring may be an issue, but the Lakers have trouble defending corner threes. With the Spurs' system and Parker's speed, San Antonio is going to take advantage with his penetration and playmaking.
The Lakers are particularly short at guard on Friday, with Price suspended and Ellington on leave.
Jeremy Lin will need to play big and efficient minutes on both ends of the floor.
Jordan Clarkson may also get the call from Byron Scott, a nice opportunity for the rookie guard -- although the Spurs are a tough, tough opponent.
The Lakers have done a lot right through their seven losses, but they haven't been able to put enough of a 48-minute game together to win more than a game.
Drawing the Spurs isn't exactly the solution, but an unlikely win would certainly be a boost for the team's wavering confidence.