The Lakers (17-21) are set to host the Miami Heat (25-12) on Thursday night at Staples Center. After winning two straight against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks, the Lakers have a chance to make a bigger statement against the defending champions.
Pau Gasol is hoping to return from a concussion after missing five games. Earl Clark is questionable with gastroenteritis (stomach flu).
Miami has the best record in the Eastern Conference but has lost six of the last 11.
Coach Mike D'Antoni has switched Kobe Bryant to guard on the ball against an opposing team's best guard. After back-to-back impressive efforts against Kyrie Irving and Brandon Jennings, Bryant is likely to draw Miami's Dwyane Wade.
Wade is averaging 19.9 points a game while shooting 50.4% from the field along with 4.4 assists and 4.7 rebounds.
Bryant may also get time defensively against LeBron James.
Miami has used players such as Shane Battier, Wade and James to guard Bryant. Battier has been recovering from a hamstring injury.