Lakers: Week 17 predictions

Blogger Eric Pincus shares his thoughts on how the Lakers will fare this week

The Lakers get back to work after the All-Star break, finishing Week 16 with a 13-40 record.

They'll play just twice through Week 17, hosting the Brooklyn Nets (21-31) and Boston Celtics (20-31)

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.

Joe Johnson is Brooklyn's leading scorer at 15.5 points a game, followed closely by center Brook Lopez at 15.3.

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.

Prediction: Nets

Sunday vs. Boston Celtics

The Celtics have competed well, despite trading away veterans Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green.  Boston is also hoping to climb into the top eight in the East, and may have a better chance than the Nets.

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).

Prediction: Celtics

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