The Lakers (18-36) expect to get Pau Gasol back from his groin injury on Friday night when the team hosts the Boston Celtics (19-36).
Gasol hasn't played since the end of January.
The Celtics and Lakers are longtime rivals who are competing this season not for playoff position, but for lottery combinations in the 2014 NBA draft.
The Lakers will play without Steve Nash (nerve root irritation), Kobe Bryant (knee), Nick Young (knee) and Xavier Henry (knee).
Avery Bradley is out with ankle issues.
The Lakers defeated the Celtics in Boston in mid-January with a big fourth-quarter run.
Gasol was the Lakers' leading scorer with 24 points, 13 rebounds and six assists -- although he's certain to be rusty on Friday after sitting out three weeks.
Celtics rookie Kelly Olynyk had one of his best games against Gasol and the Lakers, scoring 25 points with five rebounds and seven assists.
After a strong run for the Lakers with Gasol out, Chris Kaman returns to the bench and probably a reduced role.
Kendall Marshall also had a big game against Boston, scoring 19 points with 14 assists, although he did struggle with seven turnovers.
Marshall hit four of five three-point attempts against the Celtics.
Rajon Rondo made his season debut for Boston against the Lakers after sitting out nearly a year with a knee injury.
Through 11 appearances, Rondo is averaging 10.5 points, 7.4 assists and 5.0 rebounds while shooting 40.5% from the field.
At his best, Rondo is one of the top point guards in the league, but he's still working his way back after tearing an ACL.
The best way for the Lakers to "beat" the rival Celtics is with a higher pick in the draft -- possibly attained with a loss on Friday.
Even the die-hard proponents of the Lakers' "tank" seemed to want the Lakers to beat the Houston Rockets and Dwight Howard on Wednesday (they didn't).
The same fans may pull for a Lakers win over Boston, based on the long-rich, contentious history between the two franchises.
Twitter: @EricPincusCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times