After a three-game winning streak, the last two on the road, the Lakers were blown out by the
The Lakers are still down
Obviously, if Durant plays, the Thunder are a different team, arguably a title contender. Durant missed the start of the season with a foot injury, as did point guard
The Thunder's two-headed offensive monster is difficult for most teams to contend with -- injuries are the reason Oklahoma City sits below .500 this season.
Durant can score almost anywhere on the floor. At 6-foot-11, he's one of the most skilled players in
The matchup against Westbrook may be the bigger concern for the Lakers, certainly so if Durant doesn't play. Westbrook is a ferocious scorer -- a lot for
The Lakers could use a big night from Bryant offensively, but with a strong balance of play-making and scoring. The team seems to have more success when Bryant looks to pass before scoring -- which, in turn, opens up more scoring opportunities for the Lakers' All-Stars if his teammates are contributing offensively.
Ibaka has improved as a scorer through the years, but his biggest strength is as a disruptor around the basket with great timing and natural length.
The Lakers don't have much spacing on the floor with their poor-shooting starting lineup. That changes when
Given the Thunder are on a back-to-back, possibly with no Durant -- while the Lakers have been off most of the week, the outcome is far from set.
The Lakers have a real shot to get the win, but the safer bet is on the Thunder.