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Lakers: Week 2 predictions

The Lakers (2-2) hit the road for a difficult second week, traveling to Dallas, Houston and New Orleans before hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves at home.

Kobe Bryant is still out, recovering from April surgery to repair his torn Achilles' tendon.

The Lakers have played just one game away from Staples Center, a 125-94 blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors.

With wins over the Atlanta Hawks and Clippers, the Lakers exceeded expectations by a single victory.

Tuesday at Dallas Mavericks

The Lakers have shown they can build big leads at home but have struggled to hold onto them.

Can they get those same leads on the road and maintain that advantage?

The Mavericks have two prolific scorers in Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis, both averaging 23.3 points.  Veterans Vince Carter and Shawn Marion are steady contributors.

Offensively, the Mavericks are a high-powered team but they have some weaknesses defensively.

The Lakers should give Dallas a much bigger challenge once Bryant is back and healthy.  Tuesday night will be a challenge.

Prediction: Mavericks

Thursday at Houston Rockets

The Lakers will face Dwight Howard for the first time since the veteran center moved on to the Rockets in July as a free agent.

Houston has looked formidable.  On paper, the team should be among the best in the West.

The Lakers, with Steve Blake in the starting lineup instead of Bryant, have a significantly limited ceiling.

Howard has averaged 15 points and 17 rebounds while shooting 50% from the field and the line.

Arguably the bigger issue will be keeping pace with James Harden, who is scoring 26 points a game on 52.1% shooting from the field.

Prediction: Rockets

Friday at New Orleans Pelicans

The Lakers were destroyed on their first road back-to-back on the second night of the season by the Golden State Warriors.

If Steve Nash plays on Thursday against the Rockets, he's likely to sit out on Friday against the Pelicans.

The younger New Orleans can be vulnerable, despite the continuing emergence of forward-center Anthony Davis, but the Lakers will have a difficult time against their athleticism.

Prediction: Pelicans

Sunday vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves have started the season 3-0, outscoring opponents by 11 a night.

Kevin Love looks healthy after a down year.  Newcomer Kevin Martin is averaging 20.7 points.  Nikola Pekovic, Corey Brewer and Ricky Rubio round out a solid starting five.

The Lakers may not get a win on the road throughout a difficult Week 2.  A win at Staples Center on Sunday would salvage the week.

The Timberwolves will be solid this year, but they will cool off. Will that happen by Sunday night?

Prediction: Lakers


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Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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