Lakers: Predictions for Week 18

The Lakers lost both contests through Week 17, now having won just 11 of their first 57 games.

In Week 18, they're set to visit the Milwaukee Bucks (23-33) and Memphis Grizzlies (32-23) before hosting the Grizzlies on Friday at Staples Center.

Monday at Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks have not lived up to their own expectations this season, but the franchise hasn't given up on its playoff hopes -- though lagging 6.5 games behind the Chicago Bulls may be difficult overcome.

The Bucks have won three of their last four games.  Coach Jason Kidd has moved center Greg Monroe and point guard Michael Carter-Williams to the bench -- starting Miles Plumlee and O.J. Mayo in their stead.

Monroe and Carter-Williams still play major minutes. The Bucks score 98.4 points a night while allowing 102.9.

The Lakers are worse on both ends, scoring 97.1 while yielding 106.7.

Prediction: Bucks

Wednesday at Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies are still adjusting to the loss of Marc Gasol, expected to be out for the season with a broken foot.

The team also dealt forward Jeff Green to the Clippers before last week's trade deadline.

Though the Grizzlies are vulnerable, the Lakers haven't shown they're capable of exploiting teams with obvious weaknesses.

Prediction: Grizzlies

Friday vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Without Gasol, Zach Randolph has been pressed into service as an undersized center.

In their Sunday loss to the Toronto Raptors, the Grizzlies started P.J. Hairston, the young shooting guard acquired at the trade deadline. JaMychal Green has also stepped into the starting lineup.

Former Clippers guard Lance Stephenson may play a larger role with Memphis off the bench.

Prediction: Grizzlies

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus

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