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Lakers: Week 23 predictions

The Lakers (19-53) finished Week 22 with two straight losses after a win in Minnesota against the Timberwolves (16-57).

They'll wrap their five-game road trip on Monday, visiting the Philadelphia 76ers (18-56) before three home games at Staples Center, against the New Orleans Pelicans (39-34), the Portland Trail Blazers (47-25) and the  Clippers (49-25)

With just a couple of weeks left in the season, the Lakers are better served collecting losses over wins, to improve draft position.

To date, the Lakers are two wins better than the cumulative prediction of 17-55.

Monday at Philadelphia 76ers

With a loss, the Lakers can bump the 76ers up to 19 victories, putting both teams even in the win column.  The Lakers would be better served to climb to third in the draft lottery, which is why they're better off falling in Philadelphia.

The Sixers have competed in recent weeks, becoming one of the better bottom franchises in the league. Both teams are playing on the second night of a back-to-back....

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Lakers at Philadelphia 76ers preview

Monday's visit to Philadelphia may be the most important game left on the Lakers' schedule.

The Lakers (19-53) owe their 2015 first-round pick to the 76ers (18-56), via the Phoenix Suns and the Steve Nash trade, provided it's not a top-five selection.

A Lakers' loss would give the Sixers their 19th victory, evening the race to the bottom in the win column. If the Lakers can climb to third in the NBA draft lottery standings, the team would have a 96% chance of staying in the top five.

At fourth, where they currently reside, the Lakers have an 83.8% chance of keeping their pick.

Nick Young is out with a knee injury for the Lakers, while Ronnie Price (elbow), Kobe Bryant (shoulder) and Julius Randle (knee) are all done for the season.

Jeremy Lin sat out Sunday with an upper respiratory infection.

Philadelphia will play without Joel Embiid (back) and Tony Wroten (knee), also out for the year.

Key matchup

Nerlens Noel has jumped into rookie of the year consideration, evolving into an impact...

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Lakers' Week 22 in review

After defeating the Philadelphia 76ers at Staples Center, the Lakers hit the road for four games through Week 22.

Coach Byron Scott chose to shuffle the Lakers' starting lineup, moving Jeremy Lin and Ryan Kelly to the team's first unit.

The Lakers fell apart defensively in Oklahoma City, falling to the Thunder, 127-117.

The team traveled next to Minnesota, beating the Timberwolves in overtime, 101-99 -- which actually hurt the team's lottery position. The NBA acknowledged a key missed call that ultimately helped both teams.

Scott, who missed the first two games on the trip after the passing of his mother, returned to the team in Toronto against the Raptors. The Lakers were competitive but ultimately fell 94-83.

The week ended with a loss on Sunday to the Brooklyn Nets, 107-99.

Ed Davis was held out, coach's decision, and he wasn't happy about taking his turn on the sidelines.

Meanwhile, Steven Nash held a news conference to officially announce his retirement. While he struggled to keep...

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Lakers can't overcome slow start, fall to the Nets, 107-99

After a poor first quarter, the Lakers spent the rest of Sunday afternoon playing catch up against the Brooklyn Nets.

Ultimately their late run fell short and the Nets pulled out their third win a row, 107-99, at Barclays Center.

Brook Lopez led the Nets with a game-high 30 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Jordan Hill returned to action after sitting for three games, with the Lakers choosing to develop younger players.  Hill was a force off the bench with 22 points and 16 rebounds in 27 minutes.

Brooklyn's Joe Johnson neared a triple-double with 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.  Markel Brown scored a career-high 17 points, while Deron Williams finished with 13 points and nine assists.

The Lakers got 18 points from Jordan Clarkson (with seven assists), 17 from Wesley Johnson, 13 from Wayne Ellington and 11 from Jabari Brown.

Brooklyn shot 48.3% from the field with eight turnovers.  The Lakers shot 46.2% with 11 miscues.

Jeremy Lin sat out with an upper respiratory...

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Lakers at Brooklyn Nets preview

The Lakers (19-52) play the fourth of five straight games on the road, visiting the Brooklyn Nets (31-40) on Sunday afternoon.

Brooklyn has won two in a row, hoping to catch the eighth-place Boston Celtics (32-40) for a playoff berth. The Nets simply can't afford to let the Lakers get just their ninth road win of the season.

Nick Young is out with a knee injury for the Lakers, while Ronnie Price (elbow), Kobe Bryant (shoulder), Julius Randle (knee) and Steve Nash (back) are all done for the season.

Brooklyn will play without Mirza Teletovic (chest) and Sergey Karasev (knee).  Thaddeus Young is questionable, also with a knee injury.

Key matchup

Center Brook Lopez is the Nets' leading scorer at 16.4 points a game, while shooting 50.4% from the field, along with 7.0 rebounds nightly.

The Lakers have recently sat veterans Jordan Hill and Carlos Boozer for younger players, giving Tarik Black and Ryan Kelly the starting spots at center and power forward.

Black will likely draw Lopez, along...

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Clippers' climb could cost Lakers a second-round draft pick

The Clippers have won six straight games to climb to 48-25 and into fourth place overall in the Western Conference. Only the Atlanta Hawks (55-17) can boast a better record in the East.

Where the Clippers finish in the standings has direct implications for the Lakers and the 2015 NBA draft.

The Lakers, via the Jeremy Lin trade with the Houston Rockets, will receive the Clippers' second-round pick, but only if it falls exactly in the 51-55 range.

Based on the standings as of Saturday morning, the Clippers would be in line for the 56th pick, which instead of going to the Lakers would go to the Denver Nuggets to complete the 2009 trade for Cheikh Samb (who was originally drafted by the Lakers in 2006), because that deal gives the Nuggets the Clippers' pick if it's in the 56-60 range.

The Clippers originally sent their second-round pick only if it was in the 51-55 range to the Toronto Raptors for Hassan Adams. That pick was then conveyed by Toronto to Houston for David Andersen, and then...

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