by Marcel Mutoni

From time to time, the schedule makers bless us with ‘must-watch’ games: Suns/Spurs, Celtics/Pistons, plus a handful of others. While those are fun and resemble playoff games most of the time, I get a bigger kick out of the games that pit megastars against one another, and force fans to draw a line in the sand (so to speak).

On Sunday, we have such a matchup: Lakers vs Rockets. But in many ways, it’s really Kobe vs. T-Mac. At the moment, L.A. and Houston are 1 & 2 in the brutal West, and there’s a good chance that H-town will be riding an incredible 21 game winning streak into the showdown (they’re playing the Bobcats tonight for crying out loud!)

While no one seriously ever debates who’s the better player anymore – Bryant has eaten McGrady alive enough times to end that argument – their one-on-one battles may be even more enjoyable to watch than say, Kobe vs. LeBron. This is mostly due to the fact that both guys accept the challenge of guarding one another for 48 minutes.

There’s a lot riding on this game – from Playoff seeding, to homecourt advantage until the NBA Finals, not to mention the preservation of an historic winning streak – and best of all, the outcome will be decided by which of the two assassins on the wing comes out on top. As a certain Cowboys receiver might say, getcha popcorn ready!