Will Kobe Bryant play Lakers’ season-opener?
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
The NBA season opens Tuesday night. Here are three story lines to follow with the action:
Will Kobe Bryant play for the Los Angeles Lakers?
The superstar shooting guard sat out of practice again Monday, and whether he plays against the Dallas Mavericks (10:30 p.m. ET, TNT) will be a game-time decision. Bryant has not practiced in a week because of a sprained right foot.
“I can see him playing tomorrow, definitely,” teammate Metta World Peace said. “Kobe has never been afraid to be hurt and play. I think his mind is different from other people.”
The Lakers have enough talent to beat the injury-depleted Mavericks either way, but it would cut into the novelty of seeing Los Angeles’ star-powered lineup if its biggest name is sidelined.
How will the Miami Heat spread out playing time?
Erik Spoelstra was given a unique task two years ago with a roster based around three stars and an incredibly weak bench. Things done changed, as Notorious B.I.G. said on his song, Things Done Changed. The Heat have newcomers Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, healthier Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem and more proven Norris Cole coming off the bench now. LeBron James will play. Dwyane Wade will play. Chris Bosh will play. But the rotation should be more interesting now, and that starts Tuesday against the Boston Celtics (8 p.m. ET, TNT).
What will the Mavericks and Washington Wizards look like without their stars?
Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki and Wizards point guard John Wall are the faces of their franchises and the best players on their teams. But both will be out with knee injuries for the first month-plus of the season. The Mavs face a tough task because center Chris Kaman also is out, while the Wizards take on the Cleveland Cavaliers (7 p.m. ET) and Kyrie Irving, which would have been a fun and exciting matchup of 2010 (Wall) and 2011 (Irving) No. 1 overall draft picks.
Contributing: The Associated Press