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Preview: Lakers Week 21 predictions

The Lakers played just two games during Week 20, a pair of losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs.

Off until Wednesday, the Lakers will host the Spurs, Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic.

Given the Lakers' positioning for the 2014 NBA draft, a win over the Magic could be more damaging than three straight losses.

Through 66 games, the Lakers have just 22 wins, three behind cumulative expectations at 22-44.

Wednesday vs. San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs (50-16) have survived injuries to win 10 games in a row, standing atop the NBA's overall standings.

San Antonio is getting ready for the offseason, making short work of struggling teams.

The Lakers have lost two straight after a surprise win over the Thunder last Sunday. That outlier aside, the Spurs should be able to get through the Lakers with relative ease.

Prediction: Spurs

Friday vs. Washington Wizards

The Wizards (35-31) have climbed into the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, four games above .500.

Despite losing Nene to a knee injury, the Wizards have kept winning. Washington actually has more wins on the road (18-15) than at home (17-16).

John Wall is averaging 19.8 points with 8.7 assists and 1.9 steals a game.

Bradley Beal is day-to-day with a sprained ankle but then the Lakers are still without Kobe Bryant (knee) and Steve Nash (nerve root irritation).

Nick Young and Jordan Hill may be back this week from knee injuries, although their status isn't yet clear.

Prediction: Wizards

Sunday vs. Orlando Magic

The Magic (19-48) are one of the few teams in the league with a worse record than the Lakers.

If there's a specific game to lose the rest of the way for the Lakers, this is the one to drop.

The Magic are three wins behind the Lakers, an Orlando advantage the Lakers may not be able to overcome when it comes to seeding in the draft lottery.

Losing to Orlando is the Lakers' only real hope of dropping to the third best lottery position.

Guard/forward Arron Afflalo is averaging 19.5 points a game this season.  He'll give the Magic a real shot but given how rarely the Lakers are competitive this season, Orlando may bring out the best in the home team.

Prediction: Lakers

ALSO:

Lakers are first NBA team eliminated from playoff contention

NCAA tournament field revealed, Lakers' draft prospects on display

How Lakers might be able to rebuild during Kobe Bryant's last years

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

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