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Preview: Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans

The Lakers (10-41) ended a 10-game losing streak with a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves (15-36) on Tuesday.

On Thursday, the Lakers have a chance to build a winning streak, visiting the New Orleans Pelicans (18-30).  The Pelicans played Wednesday, falling in San Antonio to the Spurs (41-8).

New Orleans has struggled with injuries this season.  Tyreke Evans (knee), Eric Gordon (finger) and Quincy Pondexter (knee) have been sidelined.

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Larry Nance Jr. (knee) is out for the Lakers, while Kobe Bryant (shoulder) and Tarik Black (foot) are game-time decisions.

Key matchup

All-Star Anthony Davis is trying to carry the Pelicans back into playoff contention after the team's miserable start to the season.

At 23.0 points and 10.3 rebounds a game, Davis has helped his team climb to within five games of the eighth-place Portland Trail Blazers (24-26).  The Pelicans also need to overtake the Utah Jazz (23-25), Sacramento Kings (21-28) and Denver Nuggets (19-31).

Julius Randle will match up against Davis.  Randle has been an impressive rebounder at 9.4 a game, but his offense is inconsistent at 11.0 points a night on 41.5% from the field.

Davis is the better defender between the two.

X-factor

Ryan Anderson is the prototypical stretch four, typically coming off the bench and  averaging 17.2 points a game while shooting 39.7% from three-point range.

The Pelicans also have Jrue Holiday as a major spark off the bench.

Coach Byron Scott turned to Black with Brandon Bass as the backup big men in the win over the Timberwolves.  If Black is unable to go, and with Nance out, Ryan Kelly would likely get backup minutes at power forward.

D'Angelo Russell will match up against the more experienced Holiday.

Outlook

The Lakers have a real shot to win two in a row, especially with the Pelicans playing on back-to-back nights, but the Lakers are too inconsistent to be counted on for the victory.

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

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