The Golden State Warriors (48-30) fell to the Denver Nuggets (35-44) by a single point on Thursday night, giving up a Kenneth Faried hook shot with 1.8 seconds left on the clock.
The Lakers (25-53) have theoretically relished the role of playing spoiler to teams fighting for playoff position, although they haven't exactly gotten much done on that front -- losing seven of their last eight.
Another loss would put the Warriors' hold on the sixth playoff seed in the Western Conference at risk to the Phoenix Suns (47-31).
A Lakers win could hurt the team's position in the draft lottery.
Golden State's David Lee has sat recently with a nerve issue in his leg.
The Lakers have struggled the entire with season, playing Friday without Kobe Bryant (knee), Pau Gasol (vertigo), Steve Nash (back), Chris Kaman (calf), Xavier Henry (knee, wrist) and Kent Bazemore (foot).
Dealing with Stephen Curry is the biggest challenge when facing the Warriors.
Through 75 appearances, Curry is averaging 23.5 points a night while shooting 46.8% from the field and 41.7% from three-point range.
In addition to his explosive outside shooting, Curry is a strong play-maker at 8.5 assists a game.
Lakers point guard Kendall Marshall may be too slow-footed to stick with Curry. Coach Mike D'Antoni may turn to Jodie Meeks initially, along with Jordan Farmar off the bench.
With Klay Thompson at two guard and Andre Iguodala at the three, does D'Antoni cross match Marshall on 6-foot-7 power forward Draymond Green?
Farmar is recently back from a groin injury. Through 37 games, Farmar is averaging 10.5 points and 4.8 assists. He may get big minutes over Marshall against Curry and the Warriors.
Thompson is another high scorer for Golden State, averaging 18.4 a night.
In three games against the Lakers, Thompson has hit well above his average at 24.7 points a night on 52.0% shooting from the field.
Nick Young (17.5 points a game) has climbed above Pau Gasol (17.4) as the Lakers' leading scorer.
Friday could turn into a shooting guard shoot-out between Thompson and Young.
Even though Golden State is playing on the second night of a back-to-back, its loss on Thursday made Friday an even more important game for the Warriors to get.
The Lakers can't afford to win again this season if they want any shot at climbing to the fifth position in the lottery.
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