by Marcel Mutoni

The Lakers are in Cleveland for a nationally televised affair tonight, and we all know where most of the eyes will be focused. Believe it or not, there are other intriguing subplots in the matchup

Coming off a surprising loss to the Knicks at MSG last night, Cleveland is sure to come out fired up, and it’ll be a test for the Lakers to withstand that initial surge. As for the Lakers, they’re in the midst of a four-game road swing, and we’re all still trying to figure out if they’re for real or not.

Oh, who am I kidding? Tonight will be all about LeBron vs. Kobe. As Charles Barkley said on TNT last week, Bryant is Superman, but James is tugging on his cape. I’ll be interested to see if ‘Bron accepts the challenge and actually guards Kobe throughout the game, instead of letting Larry Hughes and Eric Snow be the sacrificial lambs.

Ego, pride, and the national TV glare will most likely ensure that each guy gets over 35, but the game will be decided by the supporting cast.

Your time to shine, Andrew Bynum.