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Lakers: Week 19 predictions

Eric Pincus predicts how the Lakers will fare this week against Hornets, Heat, Grizzlies and Mavericks

The Lakers (16-42) finished Week 18 with a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder (33-27), after wins over the Utah Jazz (23-35) and Milwaukee Bucks (32-27).

They'll play four games in Week 19, visiting the Charlotte Hornets (24-33), Miami Heat (26-33) and Memphis Grizzlies (42-16) before hosting the Dallas Mavericks (40-22) on Sunday at Staples Center.

To date, the Lakers are one win better than the cumulative prediction of 15-43.

Tuesday at Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets are inconsistent, but they're just a half-game out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference.

The addition of guard Mo Williams has helped Charlotte survive without regular starter Kemba Walker, who is sidelined with a knee injury.

The Lakers have played some of their best basketball of the season of late, but their visit to the Hornets will be a difficult challenge.

Prediction: Hornets

Wednesday at Miami Heat

The Heat were already vulnerable with Chris Bosh out for the season with a blood clot in his lung, but center Hassan Whiteside may face suspension after a near-wrestling match with Alex Len in Miami's Monday night win over the Phoenix Suns.

Regardless, the Heat still have Dwayne Wade, Luol Deng and newcomer Goran Dragic -- while the Lakers are on the road on the second night of a back-to-back. 

Prediction: Heat

Friday at Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies only give up 95.7 points a game, a big reason the team is the second seed in the Western Conference.

The combination of Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley was recently bolstered by the acquisition of Jeff Green.

A win in Memphis would be impressive, but unlikely.

Prediction: Grizzlies

Sunday vs. Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks are one of the top offensive teams in the league, although they have somewhat struggled to properly integrate point guard Rajon Rondo, acquired midseason from the Boston Celtics.

Nonetheless, Dallas is holding on to a playoff berth, with hopes of climbing from their current position as the sixth seed.

At the end of a busy week, the Lakers will find a challenge waiting at home for them in the Mavericks.

Prediction: Mavericks

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

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