Lakers: Week 5 predictions

Week 5 for the Lakers: Grizzlies, Wolves and Raptors

The Lakers won back-to-back road games against the Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets, before getting smashed by the Dallas Mavericks. An overtime loss on Sunday at home to the Denver Nuggets gave the Lakers a 2-2 week -- an improvement after a miserable 1-9 start.

The Nuggets were the first team the Lakers played all season that had a record below .500, now 6-7.

Through Week 5, the Lakers are at home for all three contests. While the Minnesota Timberwolves (3-8) are struggling, the Memphis Grizzlies (11-2) and Toronto Raptors (10-2) are among the best teams in the league.

With the win over the Rockets, but with the loss to Denver, the Lakers are one game behind the cumulative prediction of 4-10.

Wednesday vs. Memphis Grizzlies

The Lakers get Monday and Tuesday off to prepare for a rematch against the Grizzlies (12-2).

Memphis has the best record in the NBA, but the Lakers gave the Grizzlies a challenge a couple of weeks ago on the road, falling 107-102.

Kobe Bryant scored 28 points while Carlos Boozer added 20. Boozer sat out Sunday with a shoulder injury -- his stats for the Grizzlies is not yet clear.

Mike Conley, who scored 23, is a difficult cover. The Lakers did a reasonably good job against Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph -- although Gasol neared a triple-double with eight points, nine assists and eight rebounds. Randolph scored 11 with 10 rebounds.

It will take the Lakers' best game to beat Memphis.

Prediction: Grizzlies

Friday vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

The Lakers will play just their second team this season with a losing record, after falling to the Nuggets (6-7).

The Wolves are dealing with injuries to Ricky Rubio (ankle), Nikola Pekovic (wrist), Ronny Turiaf (hip) and Kevin Martin (wrist).  Thaddeus Young has been away from the team as well, after the death of his mother.

Minnesota is a young, athletic, exciting 3-9 team. Rookie forward Andrew Wiggins scored a career-high 29 points on Saturday in a loss to the Sacramento Kings.

The Lakers need a good win; Friday may be their best chance.

Prediction: Lakers

Sunday vs. Toronto Raptors

The Lakers start the week against the best team in the Western Conference, only to end it against the first-place team in the East.

The Raptors (11-2) have the highest point-differential in the league, bearing teams by 12.2 points a night.

In addition to scoring 106.9 points a game, Toronto holds teams to an impressive 94.7.

Guard/forward DeMar DeRozan leads his team at 20 points a night.  Kyle Lowry is a close second at 18.8 points with 6 assists.

Prediction: Raptors

Twitter: @EricPincus

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