Will Chris Kaman remain a starter when Pau Gasol returns?
Whenever Chris Kaman gets the rare opportunity to play big minutes for the Lakers this season, he seems to produce big results. Sunday against Phoenix was the latest example: 28 points, 17 rebounds and 6 assists on 13-of-19 shooting.
But if history repeats itself, none of that will matter once Pau Gasol (vertigo) returns to the lineup, which will happen tonight when the Lakers face Portland. Kaman has played little when Gasol is in the lineup, and he even went through a stretch where Mike D'Antoni didn't even use him at all.
Will this time be any different?
It appears that it will. Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports that D'Antoni said he is going to try the Gasol-Kaman starting lineup against the Trail Blazers.
“It’s hard to bench a guy like that and not play him,” Gasol told the Los Angeles Daily News of Kaman on Monday, before the decision was made to start both centers. “You have to give him some credit and understand he’s a valuable piece.”
Look for Kaman to take the bulk of the minutes from fellow bigs Jordan Hill, Robert Sacre and Ryan Kelly, and if he's successful against Portland, he is definitely someone to have in your lineup for the Lakers' three remaining games this week (Sacramento, Dallas, Los Angeles Clippers).
Will Kyrie Irving play this week?
Cleveland sits three games behind Atlanta for the eighth and final seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race, but the chances look good that the Cavaliers will have Kyrie Irving back in the lineup this week to help make a late push.
Irving indicated Tuesday that he felt good after practice and is listed as a game-time decision for Wednesday's game at Orlando. Irving will determine after shootaround on Wednesday whether he'll play against the Magic.
If Irving does play, as Bob Finnan of The News-Herald guesses he will, it will mean a move back to the bench for either Jarrett Jack or Dion Waiters. Finnan believes it would be Waiters to slide to the sixth-man role, but that's only speculation.
The Cavs finish the week with two more games after Wednesday -- at Atlanta on Friday and returning home to face Charlotte on Saturday -- so Irving could play as many as three games this week. That's the type of tantalizing value that could be too much to pass up if Irving is still available in your league, but then again, there's no certainty that he'll play in any of the games.
Time to cut Dwight Howard?
If you're holding out hope that Dwight Howard will return to the court this week, it may be time to consider Plan B.
Howard has already been ruled out for Tuesday's game, and he told the Houston Chronicle that he also will not play Wednesday after having fluid drained from his left ankle for a second time this week.
That means the earliest Howard could return is Friday against Oklahoma City, but even that is probably doubtful given all that's riding on the Rockets having their star center healthy for the playoffs.
“There is no need for me to rush and reinjure myself. I tried [to rush] last week. It didn’t work out too well for me. I don’t think it’s smart," Howard told the newspaper. "The biggest thing I can be concerned with is the playoffs.”
Houston plays Denver on Sunday, so at most Howard will play only two games this week, but at this point it would be somewhat of a surprise if he played in even one.
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