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Lakers: Week 20 predictions

Lakers blogger Eric Pincus sees the team going 1-2 this week

The Lakers (16-46) finished Week 19 with their fifth straight loss, falling to the Dallas Mavericks (41-24).

They'll play three times through Week 20, hosting the Detroit Pistons (23-38), New York Knicks (12-49) and Atlanta Hawks (49-13) at Staples Center.

To date, the Lakers are one better than the cumulative prediction of 15-47.

Tuesday vs. Detroit Pistons

The Pistons have lost six straight, dropping the franchise a full five games behind the seventh-place Indiana Pacers and eighth-place Charlotte Hornets.  If the Pistons hope to make the playoffs, they'll need to pass the Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Hornets -- a tall order.

Since joining the team in a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder, point guard Reggie Jackson has been a mixed bag, averaging 17.1 points and 7.3 assists a game, but shooting just 37.7% from the field and 28.0% from three-point range.

The Pistons have a towering front line with Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe.  The Lakers have a real chance at a win, but Detroit should come in hungrier with their playoff window closing rapidly.

Prediction: Pistons

Thursday vs. New York Knicks

The Knicks are the worst team in the NBA.  As bad as the Lakers' record may be, they're better than the Knicks.

Carmelo Anthony is out after knee surgery.  Amar'e Stoudemire was cut, to join the Dallas Mavericks.

Oft-injured forward/center Andrea Bargnani may be the Knicks' best player, although rookie Langston Galloway has gotten an opportunity similar to Lakers' guard Jordan Clarkson -- showing serious flashes that he may be an NBA rotation player.

Prediction: Lakers

Sunday vs. Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks have long-emerged as the best team in the Eastern Conference, at least by record.  Atlanta has an 11-game lead over the second-place Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Lakers previously defeated the Hawks in Atlanta.  Look for a revenge game from the home team.

Prediction: Hawks

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

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