Preview: Lakers vs. Brooklyn Nets

The Lakers return from the All-Star break on Friday night, hosting the Brooklyn Nets

The Lakers (13-40) return from the All-Star break on Friday night, hosting the Brooklyn Nets (21-31) at Staples Center.

Brooklyn has struggled for much of the season but is still within a game of the seventh- and eighth-place Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat, both at 22-30.

The Nets traded veteran Kevin Garnett for forward Thaddeus Young on Thursday, but it is unknown both players will pass physicals in time for Young to face the Lakers.

Meanwhile, the Lakers lost 15 of their last 16 and six in a row. 

Jordan Hill is expected to play, but he'll come off the bench after sitting recent games with a hip injury. Nick Young (foot) and Wayne Ellington (stomach) are also ready to play.

The Lakers will be without Kobe Bryant (shoulder), Julius Randle (knee) and Steve Nash (back), who are all done for the season.

Point guard Jarrett Jack (leg) isn't expected to play; Mirza Teletovic (chest) is out for the year.

Key matchup

Like the Lakers, the Nets have moved some veterans to the bench while working to develop some of the team's young players.

Mason Plumlee is active center, averaging 10.3 points and 7.0 rebounds a game while shooting 59.0% from the field.

Brook Lopez may get the start against the Lakers, with Young eventually taking over that role once he passes his physical.

Lopez is a capable scorer at 15.3 points a game while shooting 50.2% from the field.

The Lakers will counter with the tandem of Robert Sacre and Tarik Black, along with Carlos Boozer, Ed Davis and Hill.

X-factor

Coach Byron Scott is still experimenting with rookie guard Jordan Clarkson as the team's starter at the one.

Through 10 games as the team's starting point guard, Clarkson is averaging 13.4 points and 3.8 assists while shooting 39.0% from the field.

He'll play against a savvy veteran in Deron Williams who is at 12.9 points and 6.1 assists a game, although he's hitting just 38.4% of his shots this season.

Outlook

The Nets are vulnerable. The depleted Lakers should probably win on Friday, but given the recent track record -- mark this one down for the road team.

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

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