The Lakers (14-24) have had a very difficult time this season against the Phoenix Suns (21-16), getting outscored in two losses by an average of 16.5 points.
On Wednesday night, the Lakers get a third crack at the Suns, visiting Phoenix on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Suns have dropped three straight games, recently losing guard Eric Bledsoe to a knee injury.
Meanwhile, the Lakers have lost five in a row and 11 of their last 12.
Once again, the Lakers will play without Kobe Bryant (knee), Steve Nash (back), Steve Blake (elbow), Jordan Farmar (hamstring) and Xavier Henry (knee).
Bledsoe was a problem for the Lakers in both previous games, scoring an average of 17 points with eight assists -- but he won't be available Wednesday.
The Lakers also will have to deal with Goran Dragic, who scored 31 points at Staples Center on Dec. 10, when the Suns got a 114-108 road win.
Dragic is a creative playmaker and capable shooter, and a player the Lakers always seem to have trouble with.
The Lakers are relying heavily on point guard Kendall Marshall, who notched a double-double against Cleveland on Tuesday night, with 10 points and 16 rebounds.
Marshall needs to have a big game, especially defensively against Dragic. The Lakers have struggled this season to get stops, and the Suns are a tough team to cover.
The Suns drafted Marshall in 2012 with the 13th overall pick, before sending him to the Washington Wizards in a trade before the season.
The Wizards cut Marshall, who eventually found his way to the Lakers once a spot opened up because of injury.
Be it Marcus Morris, Miles Plumlee, Channing Frye or Markieff Morris, the Phoenix big men have given the Lakers fits this season.
Marcus scored 22 on 10-of-13 shooting on Dec. 10. Plumlee had a huge night on Dec. 23, scoring 17 points with 20 rebounds.
The Lakers need a strong performance from Pau Gasol, who was badly outplayed by Plumlee just a few weeks ago.
Gasol was able to play through a toe injury on Tuesday, scoring 20 points with 12 rebounds in the Lakers' 120-118 loss to the Cavaliers.
The Suns are vulnerable without Bledsoe but not as vulnerable as the Lakers without their primary guard core.
The Lakers are an absolute mess defensively in recent weeks, which doesn't bode well for Wednesday night.
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