NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, February 3rd (All times eastern)
San Antonio Spurs (40-8) at Los Angeles Lakers (34-15), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - San Antonio hopes to bounce back from a rare loss and pick up the first win on the team's annual rodeo road trip Thursday when the Spurs face off with the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers in Hollywood.
Each year around this time the Spurs pack their bags while the annual San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo takes over the AT&T Center. Historically, the long trips have actually been very successful for Gregg Popovich's team, which has compiled a 44-20 mark in the previous eight rodeo road trips since moving into the AT&T Center.
This year's version began with a loss in Portland on Tuesday and will last 17 days, encompassing 8,965 miles as the Spurs visit nine different cities. After tonight's contest, San Antonio, which is 15-6 as the visitor this season, will face off with Sacramento, Detroit, Toronto, Philadelphia, Washington, New Jersey and Chicago before returning to south Texas.
All-Star hopeful LaMarcus Aldridge helped spoil the opener of the trek for the Spurs by posting a career-high 40 points to go with 11 rebounds, as the Trail Blazers topped San Antonio, 99-86, at the Rose Garden.
MVP candidate Manu Ginobili led the Spurs with 17 points and DeJuan Blair added 14 points with 12 rebounds for San Antonio, which had a three-game winning streak snapped. Tim Duncan and Richard Jefferson scored 15 and 10 points, respectively, in the loss.
The Lakers, meanwhile, snapped a rare two-game skid at Staples Center on Tuesday when Kobe Bryant scored 32 points and dished out 11 assists, as Los Angeles posted a 114-106 overtime victory over the Houston Rockets despite missing oft-injured center Andrew Bynum.
Pau Gasol finished with 26 points and 16 rebounds, Lamar Odom totaled 20 points and a season-high 20 boards and Derek Fisher added 11 points for the Lakers, as Bynum at out with a balky left knee.
"I didn't like the way we closed the game; that was disappointing," said Los Angeles head coach Phil Jackson. "We got a hold of what they were doing in the overtime and found a way to win."
Bynum, who also missed the first 24 games of the season due to surgery on his right knee, was diagnosed with a bone bruise after an MRI Tuesday.
"I'm not so sure it's just going to be one game, but it's a game-by-game decision," Jackson said when queried about Bynum's status.
The Lakers, who are 19-7 on their home floor, will also hit the road after tonight's contest for a seven-game road trip while the Grammys take over Staples Center.
San Antonio has won two straight regular season meeting with LA, including a 97-82 rout in the Alamo City on Dec. 28.
02/03 10:36:54 ET