Lakers in crucial matchup

18 January 2013 05:10:31 GMTPlus11

The Los Angeles Lakers welcome in the Miami Heat to the Staples Center in LA on Thursday with good news on the injury front.

Pau Gasol is set to return for the Lakers when they entertain Miami Heat.

Pau Gasol is expected to return from his concussion as LA looks to make it three in a row since snapping their six-game losing streak.

Out of the playoff places by three games and still four games under .500, the meeting with the Heat represents a marker for the Western Conference strugglers against the best in the East.

Miami comes into town after defeating a short-handed Golden State Warriors side 92-75 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland.

Without regular backcourt mate Stephen Curry, out with a sprained ankle, Klay Thompson was held to just two points on the evening on 1-of-8 shooting. LeBron James led the way for the visitors falling three rebounds short of a triple-double.

While the Lakers entertain the Heat, the Pacific Division leading Los Angeles Clippers are on the road at the Target Center in Minneapolis to face the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Losers of four in a row the T-Wolves return home after a winless road swing through Oklahoma City, New Orleans, San Antonio and Dallas.

The Clippers arrive following their 117-109 defeat of the Rockets at the Toyota Center in Houston on Tuesday when Jamal Crawford came off the bench to score 30 points for the visitors.

Point guard Chris Paul sat out his second consecutive game with a bruised right knee and remains day to day.

The Clippers areĀ 7500/1 to win the NBA Championship, while Miami Heat are 3/4.

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