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Lakers' starting lineup getting a consistent look despite losses

Injuries have defined the season for the Lakers.

Through 38 games, Coach Mike D'Antoni has started 19 different lineups.

On Tuesday night, D'Antoni started the combination of Kendall Marshall, Jodie Meeks, Wesley Johnson, Pau Gasol and Robert Sacre for the fifth straight game.

Though that particular group has yet to win a game, they have started more games together than all but one lineup.

Earlier in the season, the Lakers went on a roll with Meeks, Johnson, Gasol, Steve Blake and Jordan Hill, winning six of 10.

Blake eventually was sidelined with an elbow injury. Kobe Bryant (Achilles and knee), Jordan Farmar (hamstring, twice), Xavier Henry (knee), Chris Kaman (back spasms), Gasol (bronchitis and a sinus infection) and Johnson (gastroenteritis) have all been in and out of the lineup.

The Lakers started the season with high hopes they'd survive while Bryant recovered from an April Achilles tear.

Instead, the team is relying on younger, inconsistent players -- including a point guard, in Marshall, who was in the NBA Development League just a few weeks ago.

The Lakers are now 7 1/2 games behind the eighth-place Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference.

With a seven-game road trip looming, by the time the Lakers (14-24), are expected to get reinforcements near the end of the month (or early February), the playoffs may be simply out of reach.


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

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