Lakers Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol to play tonight vs. Wizards

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The Los Angeles Lakers are getting two of their stars back just in time to continue their late playoff push.

Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said guard Kobe Bryant and forward Pau Gasol will play Friday against the Washington Wizards.

D'Antoni said Gasol will probably start, sending forward Earl Clark back to the bench. He hasn't played since Feb. 5 due to a torn plantar fascia in his foot.

Bryant has missed several games with a sprained ankle suffered on a game-winning shot attempt against the Atlanta Hawks on March 13.

"I'm looking forward to it," D'Antoni said. "That's the lineup. If we're going to do any damage, that's what has to happen. We have a month to get better and, in the meantime, win games. We put ourselves in this position, so we gotta do it."

The Lakers (36-33) are 1½ games ahead of the Utah Jazz for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot. They are 1½ games back of the Houston Rockets for seventh place and 2½ games back of the sixth-place Golden State Warriors.