Lakers: Week 4 predictions

The Lakers could actually win a game -- or maybe even two -- this week

The Lakers did defeat the Charlotte Hornets for one victory this season, but Week 3 was a winless catastrophe.

The team is now 1-9, heading into Week 4's three-game road trip to the Atlanta Hawks, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks. They also host the struggling Denver Nuggets at home on Sunday.

The Lakers will win a game this week, maybe even two. To date, the team is one worse than the cumulative prediction of 2-8.

Tuesday at Atlanta Hawks

Nick Young may make his season debut after injuring his thumb during the preseason.

While the Lakers' biggest issue is on the defensive side of the ball -- not one of Young's greatest strengths -- improved offensive balance should help improve the Lakers' entire game.

The emotion of Young's return, along with desperation after losing nine of 10, could spur the Lakers on to a win over a solid Hawks team (5-4).

Atlanta's Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap and Al Horford will not make that an easy task.

Prediction: Lakers

Wednesday at Houston Rockets

The 9-1 Rockets are tied for first place in the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies.

In addition to stars Dwight Howard and James Harden, former Lakers forward Trevor Ariza has fit in very nicely as both an outside threat and as a vital perimeter defender.

Look for Kobe Bryant and Jeremy Lin to have difficult nights against the defensive matchups of Ariza and Patrick Beverley.

Prediction: Rockets

Friday at Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks (7-3) are the highest scoring team in the league at 109.5 points a game, eclipsing even the Golden State Warriors (108.6 nightly).

Dallas is no slouch defensively, despite giving up 100 points a night, they have a very solid 9.5 point differential.

In addition to scorers Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis, the Mavericks have brought back defensive-minded center Tyson Chandler -- who helped the team win a title in 2011.

Prediction: Mavericks

Sunday vs. Denver Nuggets

Former Lakers guard and assistant coach Bryan Shaw has had a difficult time this season as head coach of the 2-7 Nuggets.

Last season, Denver had almost as many injuries as the Lakers -- this year they have a healthier roster but are under-performing.

The Lakers always seem to have trouble dealing with point guard Ty Lawson.

Denver will be the first team the Lakers play with a losing record -- in their 14th game.

Prediction: Lakers

Twitter: @EricPincus

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