The Lakers get back to work after the All-Star break, finishing Week 16 with a 13-40 record.
To date, the Lakers are two worse than the cumulative prediction of 15-38.
Friday vs. Brooklyn Nets
The Lakers have a real shot to win both games this week. The Nets have lost three straight, but are still in the running for a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference -- despite their losing record.
The Nets are simply not a good basketball team, but the Lakers haven't shown they're capable of beating anyone over the last month, saving a surprise win over the Chicago Bulls.
Sunday vs. Boston Celtics
Jared Sullinger is the team's top-scorer at 14.4 points a game. Rookie point guard Marcus Smart is at just 6.8 a night on 36.8% shooting, but is an aggressive, physical defender.
Meanwhile, the Lakers are better off losing every night, to gain a better position in the NBA's draft lottery. Coach Byron Scott has prioritized player development over winning, especially with injuries to players like Kobe Bryant (shoulder), Julius Randle (leg) and Steve Nash (back).