Lakers Now

Preview: Lakers host San Antonio Spurs, winners of 12 straight games

The Lakers (9-35) draw the red-hot San Antonio Spurs (37-6) on Friday night at Staples Center.

The Spurs won their 12th consecutive game Thursday by beating the Phoenix Suns. San Antonio is only two games behind the Golden State Warriors (39-4).

Meanwhile, the Lakers are in last place in the Western Conference, losers of four in a row.

Larry Nance Jr. is not expected to play because of a sore knee, while Kobe Bryant (Achilles tendon and shoulder) and Brandon Bass (foot) are probable.

San Antonio regularly rests players; Tim Duncan sat out Thursday's game. Tony Parker is trying to work through a hip injury.

Key matchup

Forward Kawhi Leonard was voted into the All-Star game as a starter by the fans, as announced by the NBA on Thursday.

Leonard is the Spurs' leading scorer at 20.1 points a game. He's shooting 48.4% from three-point range, 50.3% from the field and is one of the league's premier defenders.

Bryant will draw the difficult matchup against Leonard, who is 13 years younger than the Lakers star. Bryant has two NBA Finals MVP awards, Leonard one, from the Spurs' 2014 championship.

X-factor

The Spurs are loaded with players like LaMarcus Aldridge, Manu Ginobili, David West, Danny Green, Boris Diaw, Patty Mills, Duncan and Parker.

San Antonio is a machine, with the league's highest point differential at 14.5 points a game.

The Spurs have a 24-0 record at home and six losses in 19 games on the road.

The Lakers are trying to improve with young players like D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and Anthony Brown.

Outlook

The Lakers are no match for the elite Spurs.

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

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