Preview: Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets

Jordan Clarkson going against Denver's Ty Lawson will be key in a winnable game for the Lakers

After a winless four-game road trip, the Lakers (13-38) return home on Tuesday night to host the Denver Nuggets (19-33) at Staples Center.

The Nuggets have something in common with the Lakers -- both teams have lost 13 of their last 14 games.

Denver is coming off a Monday-night loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, drawing the Lakers on the second night of a back-to-back.

The Lakers will play the Nuggets without Jordan Hill (hip), and Kobe Bryant (shoulder), Julius Randle (knee) and Steve Nash (back) are all done for the season.

Veteran point guard Jameer Nelson (Achilles) is questionable for the Nuggets.

Key matchup

The Nuggets' offense starts with point guard Ty Lawson, who isthe team's leading scorer (16.6 points a game) and play-maker (9.9 assists a night).

The Lakers will counter with rookie Jordan Clarkson, who is averaging 13.8 points and 3.4 assists over his last eight games as a starter.

Clarkson is shooting just 39.8% from the field and 28.6% from three-point range in that stretch, but the Lakers are patiently giving him the chance to learn the position.

Lawson will be another difficult challenge for Clarkson, who has  faced starts against a string of top-flight point guards including Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, John Wall and Tony Parker.

X-factor

The Nuggets haven't been able to come together consistently as a team, but their roster is loaded with talented players including Arron Afflalo, Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari.

Denver scores 100.6 points a night on average, while allowing 104.3. The Lakers are worse at 99.4 points offensively against 106.3 defensively.

Scorer Nick Young has been in a prolonged slump. The Lakers could use the boost -- now would be a good time for him to rediscover his shooting touch.

Outlook

The Lakers have a real shot to end a four-game losing streak on Tuesday against the reeling Nuggets.

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

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