Image: Harry How | Getty Images

February 13, 2014 — 7:30 PM (PST)
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TNT
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Both teams find themselves heading upwards as All-Star Break approaches upon them. The Oklahoma City Thunder (42-12) find themselves ascending in their winning percentage and now have the best record in the NBA without PG Russell Westbrook. Meanwhile, the Lakers (18-34) continually move up in the NBA lottery seed as they continue to lose games.

Thunder F Kevin Durant has dominated the NBA this season, scoring over 40 points 6 times and 30 or more points in 16 of the last 22 games. A favorite to win the MVP this season, Durant has put his entire team on his back without Westbrook with his scoring ability and has propelled the Thunder past all the Western Conference teams into first place.

Meanwhile, the same 3 point guards who returned last week vs. Minnesota Timberwolves have now re-injured themselves within this week.

PG Steve Nash unfortunately continues to deal with nerve root irritation and will not play tonight. Sadly, this might spell the end for Nash, whose nerve issues has not healed the way he wanted to regardless of how much time he spends in rehab.

PG Jordan Farmar also cannot play tonight as he tries to manage his hamstring that he has torn twice this season already. To make matters worse, PG Steve Blake will play tonight but still feels pain in his right elbow. Questions exist to why Blake wants to play tonight especially since the Lakers should not want to see Blake reaggravate his injury and miss the rest of this season.

Projected Starters

PG – Reggie Jackson / Kendall Marshall [Advantage: Thunder]
SG – Thabo Sefolosha / Steve Blake [Advantage: Thunder]
SF – KEVIN DURANT / Wesley Johnson [Advantage: Thunder]
PF – Serge Ibaka / Shawne Williams [Advantage: Thunder]
C – Kendrick Perkins / Chris Kaman [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Thunder: G Derek Fisher, G Jeremy Lamb, F Perry Jones III, F Nick Collison, C Steven Adams
Lakers: F Jordan Hill, C Robert Sacre, F Ryan Kelly

Bench Advantage: Thunder

Injury List

Thunder: Out-PG Russell Westbrook, Questionable-PG Thabo Sefelosha
Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-PG Steve Blake, Out-G Xavier Henry, Out-C Pau Gasol, Out-PG Jordan Farmar, Out-PG Jodie Meeks, Out-PG Steve Nash, Probable-Steve Blake

Bottom Line

The Lakers currently have trouble finding enough players to put on the floor. They only have 8 players available to play tonight. Irresponsible management of players playing times and injuries can be argued as one of the main causes of so many players going down with injuries. The Thunder should have no problem coming away with an easy victory tonight. Durant will most likely not score 30 or more points tonight since he can probably relax on the bench throughout the majority of the 2nd half of tonight’s game.

Prediction

Thunder: 129-98