Chris Mullin says his injured right knee is getting better, so he'll probably play tonight when the Golden State Warriors try to even their playoff series with the Los Angeles Lakers.
"It's not great, but it is improved," Mullin, the Warriors' leading scorer, said of his knee Tuesday.Most likely Warriors coach Don Nelson won't announce a decision until Mullin goes through pregame warmups at the Forum, where the Lakers got the jump in the best-of-7 second-round series by beating the Warriors 126-116 Sunday night.
"If he can play, it will be wonderful," Nelson said. "We'll see how he does and make a decision."
Mullin was injured in the third quarter of the Warriors' first-round series-clinching 110-97 victory over San Antonio Friday night, but continued to play. He watched Sunday night's game in street clothes from the Golden State bench.
Mullin, who averaged 25.7 points during the regular season and 25.3 points in the four playoff games against San Antonio, said tenderness and discomfort are only part of the problem he faces.
"It's a matter of having confidence in my leg," he said. "When I played the last of the (fourth San Antonio) game hurt, it was in my mind, how I felt.
"I don't want to play and be thinking about it with every step."
Lakers coach Mike Dunleavy believes Mullin will play.
"I would expect so, if there's any possible way for him to play, he will play," Dunleavy said.
The Warriors have lost their last 11 playoff games at the Forum, dating back to 1969, and will be solid underdogs with or without Mullin tonight.
Nelson is aware his team will have to raise its level of play and believes it will.
"I don't know if it's enough to beat the Lakers, but I know we can play better," he said. "Hey, don't write Game 2 off yet, please. Let's play it first. There's always hope. As soon as they win four off us, then we're in trouble."
The Warriors will be in trouble if they can't do a better job of defending Byron Scott, who scored 27 points in Game 1, making 10 of his 15 shots, including all five from 3-point range.