Nov 7, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol (16) argues a call against the Houston Rockets during the first half at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Game 7 Preview: Wolves (4-2) @ Lakers (3-4)

Steve Nash could return to the starting lineup after he sat out the Lakers’ 85-96 loss to New Orleans on Friday with a sore back. Nash is currently shooting just 21.9 percent on his 2-point shots, the lowest in the NBA among players with at least 20 attempts. It’s safe to say he’s struggling. Nick Young and Jordan Farmar could get extra minutes, should Nash sit again. So brace yourself for awesomeness, either way.

Lakers probable starting lineup:

PG Steve Nash

SG Steve Blake

SF Xavier Henry

PF Pau Gasol

C Chris Kaman

Without Kobe Bryant (still recovering from his blown achilles), the Lakers have had to lean a little more on Gasol. Pau suffered through a 3-12, 9 point, 11 rebound performance against Anthony Davis and the Pelicans Friday. The problem is, that’s only 3 points shy of his season average as Gasol has shot just 35% front he field on over 12 attempts a game.

Nash’s excuses are that he’s 39 years-old and playing a stealthier position that makes him more vulnerable to aging’s affects–and the entire league has basically been predicting his demise since he left Dallas–Gasol is six years younger and pulling a Shved letting his team down when they really need him while Kobe gets healthy enough to chase historical scoring stats.

Fun fact: Gasol is making $19 million this year and $10.28 million next season–so for all those who clamored for Love to get moved for Gasol to appease fellow Spaniard, Ricky Rubio, think about that tonight. If it was Derrick Williams you were clamoring to move for Gasol, that could still be arranged…

Wolves’ probable starting lineup:

PG Ricky Rubio

SG Kevin Martin

SF Corey Brewer

PF Kevin Love

C Nikola Pekovic

Rick Adelman appeared to have found a stopgap solution to his bench’s woes in Minnesota’s victory over Dallas Friday night–don’t play them as much. Sure, that’s been his strategy for a while, but this time he didn’t play his bench so much together.

Williams missed the game with a sore back and Dante Cunningham played 30 minutes, but JJ Barea played just 16, Robbie Hummel saw 11 and Alexey Shved played only 7. Staggering the starters with Love, Martin or Pek always being on the floor kept the bleeding to a minimum as Dante was the only one of those four not having a negative plus/minus–and he had a 0.

D-Will remains questionable, but is an LA guy, so who knows.

As for the other California guy? Love is averaging 26 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists on over 48% shooting (30% from 3). Expect the monster efforts to continue through this California swing.

Grab your Timberwolves vs. Lakers tickets for Game 7 of the regular season here!

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Tags: Game Preview Kevin Love Kevin Martin Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Minnesota Timberwolves Pau Gasol Pregame Preview Ricky Rubio Steve Nash

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