Lakers Now

Lakers at Brooklyn Nets preview

The Lakers continue their road trip against a Brooklyn Nets team that's trying to capture a playoff spot

The Lakers (19-52) play the fourth of five straight games on the road, visiting the Brooklyn Nets (31-40) on Sunday afternoon.

Brooklyn has won two in a row, hoping to catch the eighth-place Boston Celtics (32-40) for a playoff berth. The Nets simply can't afford to let the Lakers get just their ninth road win of the season.

Nick Young is out with a knee injury for the Lakers, while Ronnie Price (elbow), Kobe Bryant (shoulder), Julius Randle (knee) and Steve Nash (back) are all done for the season.

Brooklyn will play without Mirza Teletovic (chest) and Sergey Karasev (knee).  Thaddeus Young is questionable, also with a knee injury.

Key matchup

Center Brook Lopez is the Nets' leading scorer at 16.4 points a game, while shooting 50.4% from the field, along with 7.0 rebounds nightly.

The Lakers have recently sat veterans Jordan Hill and Carlos Boozer for younger players, giving Tarik Black and Ryan Kelly the starting spots at center and power forward.

Black will likely draw Lopez, along with Robert Sacre and Ed Davis off the bench.

X-factor

The Nets have a number of dangerous players including Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Jarrett Jack and Mason Plumlee, among others.

With Young questionable Sunday, Brooklyn will likely start Plumlee with Lopez.

Brooklyn also recently added former Lakers forward Earl Clark, who scored seven points in 11 minutes in his debut.

The Lakers are heavily reliant on guards Jeremy Lin and Jordan Clarkson for scoring. When Wayne Ellington gets hot, his shooting can keep his team in games.

Outlook

Sunday is a must-win for the Nets, just as it's a must-lose for the Lakers who are "fighting" for position in the 2015 NBA draft.

Both teams should be able to get it done.

Twitter: @EricPincus

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