TV: NBA TV
- The Lakers will take the floor for the first time since losing leading scorer Kobe Bryant to a season-ending torn left Achilles tendon, taking on the Spurs in a must-win Western Conference game for both teams. Bryant was injured with about three minutes remaining in Friday’s victory against the visiting Warriors and underwent successful surgery Saturday afternoon. The Lakers will also be without starting point guard Steve Nash, who will miss his seventh consecutive game with hip and hamstring injuries. Nash said he hopes to be back for Wednesday’s regular-season finale against the visiting Rockets.
- The Lakers begin the night in eighth place in the West, a game ahead of the Jazz with two remaining for both. The Jazz play at the Timberwolves on Monday and then head to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies on Wednesday. A loss by the Lakers tonight will put Utah in the driver’s seat as they own the tiebreaker with L.A. The Spurs have good reason to win as well. They’re a half-game behind the Thunder for the top seed in the West and can move into a tie with the win. The Thunder have two games remaining, Monday against the visiting Kings and Wednesday against the visiting Bucks. Oklahoma City owns the tiebreaker over San Antonio.
- The Lakers signed Andrew Goudelock to fill some of their backcourt void and he will be available tonight. Goudelock flew to L.A. on Sunday morning after playing the previous night with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in Game 2 of the NBA Development League quarterfinals against the Maine Red Claws in Hidalgo, Texas, a game won by the Vipers, 98-97. Goudelock was drafted in the second round by the Lakers in 2011. He averaged 4.4 points in 10.5 minutes last season. He was waived on October 27.
- The player who’s expected to benefit the most from Friday’s dismissal of Stephen Jackson is Kawhi Leonard. He played 35 minutes in Friday’s win at Sacramento and played at least 40 minutes in back-to-back games last week against the Thunder and Hawks. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he wants Leonard to play between 35 and 40 minutes in the playoffs.
– Dan Arritt