The Cavaliers started off their trip out west with a comeback win in Sacramento last night. It was a much-needed victory for a team that, while they remain first in the East, has been struggling to find an extra gear. The Lakers, who are in the midst of an eight-game homestand, have won their last two games: against Golden State on Sunday, and against Orlando on Tuesday.
Who: Cavs (45-18) at Lakers (14-51)
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles
When: Tonight, 10:30 pm in the East
TV: TNT and Fox Sports Ohio
It is not clear at this time whether Kobe Bryant, who has sat out four of his team's last six games, will play tonight. Given that it is a national TV game and it would be his final matchup with LeBron James, I'd imagine that he will, if at all possible.
As Brian Windhorst tweeted back in November, it really is history's loss that LeBron and Kobe never faced off in the Finals. Since 2007, one of them has been to the Finals every year. That's a streak of nine consecutive Finals. Think about that. It's incredible. But they never both made it during the same year. They will be remembered as the two defining players of their era, and yet we never had a signature moment between them.
At least we got those Nike commercials with the puppets, though.
Beyond that storyline, the Cavs are still trying to hit their stride, and they could use another win. After tonight, they'll get to hang out in Los Angeles before facing the Clippers on Sunday.
Of course, it was on their trip out west last year that turned the Cavs' season around. That was much earlier in the season, and it involved a trip to a bowling alley. I don't know if Tyronn Lue likes bowling as much as David Blatt, but it's worth a shot.
With 19 games left in the season, the Cavs do remain 2.5 games up on Toronto in the East. For as bad as they've looked at times, things could be worse. The key for them now is to just try and get things to click a little bit better, and for Lue to figure out his rotations, so they can head into the playoffs with some momentum.