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Preview: Lakers at San Antonio Spurs

Lakers are in San Antonio for their second game of the season against the Spurs

The Lakers (6-16) hope to win their second straight game Friday night when they visit the San Antonio Spurs (16-6).

The Spurs previously beat the Lakers in mid-November, 93-80 -- a game that saw Kobe Bryant score nine points while missing 13 of 14 shot attempts.

Corey Joseph led San Antonio in that game with 14 points off the bench. Tim Duncan notched 13 points and 11 rebounds.

San Antonio's Patty Mills (shoulder) is out Friday, while Kawhi Leonard (hand) and Tony Parker (ribs) aren't fully healthy.

The Lakers are still missing Xavier Henry (Achilles'), Ryan Kelly (hamstring), Steve Nash (back) and Julius Randle (leg). Wesley Johnson missed the past two practices with a stomach bug.

Key matchup

The Lakers have a challenge with the Spurs, and if Bryant shoots one for 14 again it's going to be an even longer night.

Coach Byron Scott turned to Bryant to play point guard in the fourth quarter of Tuesday's 98-95 win over the Sacramento Kings.

Bryant needs to have a big night, both as scorer and as playmaker.

The difficulty in stopping the Spurs is that they have so many weapons, so many players who can carry the scoring load.

Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Boris Diaw, Duncan, Leonard and Parker are regular threats, but when one is down or out, Marco Belinelli, Matt Banner or Joseph can  step in with big nights.

X-factor

The Lakers recently promoted Ed Davis to starting power forward, with Carlos Boozer moving to the bench.

Davis is a significantly better defender than Boozer, although he doesn't have the veteran power forward's shooting range.

It's vital that Davis stays out of foul trouble and finds a balance between defending Duncan and generally protecting the basket in help situations.

The Spurs have such a dynamic attack that the Lakers need to play their best game defensively.

Duncan isn't as dominant a scorer as he was in his earlier days, but he's still one of the best at his position.

Outlook

The Spurs are the reigning champions. The Lakers are not a contender this season.

A Lakers win in San Antonio would be a surprise.

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

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