The Lakers (2-3) have played three solid games at home this season (2-1) but have been blown out twice on the road (0-2).
Visiting the 4-1 Houston Rockets may not be the answer to the Lakers' traveling woes.
Hill is the better rebounder but isn't as skilled offensively. Kaman is the better shooter.
Whether D'Antoni puts Gasol, Kaman or Hill on Howard, the Lakers could have their hands full with the veteran center.
Gasol has had success in the past with his height. The bigger issue is what Howard can do on the defensive end, protecting the basket for Houston.
Given the Rockets' shooting depth, double-teaming Howard is typically a bad idea.
Of course D'Antoni may choose to send Howard, a notoriously poor free-throw shooter, to the line if he or the Rockets are having offensive success.
The Lakers need Gasol to be a significant inside presence against Houston.
His ability to hit the three-point shot and get to the line makes him a difficult cover.
If the Lakers' shooters aren't hitting, they could be in quick trouble against the Rockets.
Even a lead isn't safe against Houston as their outside game gives the Rockets a chance to make up a double-digit deficit in little time.
Omer Asik and Howard are both high-level defenders but are still learning how to play together, given neither has much range offensively and both struggle at the line.
The battle Thursday won't quite be as Earth-shattering as Howard's return to Staples Center on Feb. 19 should be -- presumably long after Bryant's return.
The Lakers are a significant underdog Thursday but it would be quite a big win if they manage to get it.