Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol

Rockets center Dwight Howard greets Lakers forward Pau Gasol before the start of their game in Houston. (Scott Halleran / Getty Images / November 7, 2013)

The Lakers will play three games during Week 11, all on the road (although one is at Staples Center against the Clippers).

The team has lost seven of eight games, heading into the difficult part of their schedule while short-handed.  It could get ugly for the Lakers.

Through 34 games, the Lakers have 14 wins, two behind cumulative expectations.

Tuesday at Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks have struggled recently, dropping two straight and five of their last 10. At 19-15, Dallas is in eighth place in the Western Conference.

If the Lakers were at full strength, it might be a good time to steal a win on the road.

The Lakers are not at full strength, or even near full strength.

Dirk Nowitzki is having a strong season for the Mavericks, averaging 21 points a game while shooting 48.8% from the field, 40.8% from three-point range and 92% from the line.

Monta Ellis has been a nice addition, at an average of 20.2 points and 5.9 assists a game.

The Mavericks score an average of 102.9 points per game, which could be a problem for the Lakers, who in their present state are defensively challenged.

Prediction: Mavericks

Wednesday at Houston Rockets

The Lakers upset the Rockets in Houston on Nov. 7, on a game-winner from Steve Blake. Blake is now sidelined with an elbow injury.

Steve Nash scored 12 points with six assists but Pau Gasol struggled to score two points on 1-10 shooting.

The Lakers are a shell of the team that pulled out that 99-98 win.

Former Laker Dwight Howard is putting up an average of 17.8 points a game on 58% shooting from the field along with 12.9 rebounds. He's shooting a reasonable 55.3% from the free-throw line.

Houston will play without Patrick Beverley, out with a broken hand. James Harden is the team's leading scorer at 24.4 points a game with 5.2 assists.

Prediction: Rockets

Friday at Clippers

If there's a game for the Lakers to steal, it's Friday's against the Clippers.