The Los Angeles Lakers took a four-game losing streak into December and some people wondered if this meant they weren’t up to the task of giving Phil Jackson his fourth career three-peat. Since then, they’ve won seven of eight and they’ll wrap up a seven-game road trip this afternoon in Toronto.
The biggest storyline for Lakers fans at the moment is the return of Andrew Bynum after missing his first 24 games recovering from knee surgery. He’s only averaged 16 minutes in his three games back, but his presence will give allow Pau Gasol to play more frequently at his natural power forward position. I imagine Bynum will come off the bench and be limited to 20-25 minutes most games to increase the likelihood that he’ll be healthy for another championship run.
Toronto: Sonny Weems is out with a sore lower back while Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani are probable and I don’t see why they wouldn’t suit up since the played on Friday.
Los Angeles: Kobe is listed as probable with a sprained pinky finger, but I think we can assume he’ll play today. Theo Ratliff is out 4-6 weeks recovering from knee surgery and now that Bynum is back, Lakers fans say he can take his time.
1. Can the Raptors repeat their Sunday luck against the Lakers from last season’s 106-105 win?
2. Would Shannon Brown be a candidate for Most Improved Player if he wasn’t on the Lakers? He’s only playing 18.7 minutes per game but he’s averaging 10.3 points and shooting 44 percent from three point range.
3. With Amir Johnson’s recent struggles, do you think it’s time to move Ed Davis into the starting lineup?
4. What do you think of the Kardashian family holiday card, featuring Lamar Odom?
5. Did you go to the Ron Artest art show in Toronto last night? How was it?
Start time: 1:00 PM ET
Liveblog: Scott Carefoot on thescore.com and ScoreMobile
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Linas Kleiza, Amir Johnson, Andrea Bargnani
Los Angeles: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Today’s pregame song is “Forgot About Dre” by Dr. Dre and Eminem. I chose this because Dre represents the Lakers and the West coast and because if “Dre” Bargnani drops 30 on the Lakers today, I think it’s safe to say they won’t see it coming.