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Preview: Lakers at Philadelphia 76ers

By Eric Pincus

10:30 AM PST, February 7, 2014

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The Lakers (17-32) have a chance to win two in a row on Friday night when they visit the Philadelphia 76ers (15-35).

Injuries have decimated the Lakers, who have won only four games in 2014.

The 76ers have struggled as well, dropping 14 of their last 17.

The Lakers will play without four of their top six scorers with Kobe Bryant (knee), Pau Gasol (groin), Nick Young (knee) and Xavier Henry (knee) missing the game because of injuries. Jodie Meeks could be a game-time decision after injuring an ankle on Wednesday.

If Meeks doesn't play, the only Laker available who has averaged double figures this season would be Kendall Marshall.

Jordan Hill (neck) might also be a game-time decision.  Jordan Farmar (calf) is expected to play.

The Lakers re-signed forward Shawne Williams on Thursday to a 10-day contract as the team looks to field enough players to get through an entire regulation NBA game.

Key matchup

The 76ers have one of the league's top rookies in point guard Michael Carter-Williams.

The 6-foot-6 point guard from Syracuse is averaging 17.2 points, 6.6 assists and 5.4 rebounds a game.

Carter-Williams is still learning to play with efficiency. He's shooting just 39.8% from the field and 29.8% from three-point range while turning the ball over 3.4 times a game.

Steve Nash, in his 18th season, is expected to make his eighth start of the year on his 40th birthday.  Carter-Williams is only 22.

With so many players ailing, the Lakers will need Nash to create easy shots for his teammates.

In his return Tuesday from a back injury, Nash scored seven points and had nine assists in 25 minutes.

Steve Blake and Farmar also need to be factors against the 76ers for the Lakers to have a chance.

X-factor

When the Lakers lost to the Sixers at Staples Center in late December, Bryant and Gasol were out with injury.

Thaddeus Young scored 25 points while Evan Turner contributed 22. The Lakers should have a difficult time again Friday with the athletic duo.

Nick Young scored 26 points in defeat, so the Lakers will need to find offense (and defense) from somewhere.

Ryan Kelly led the Lakers with 26 points on Wednesday in the team's 119-108 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Duke rookie might be the Lakers' best scoring option against the Sixers.

Outlook

The Lakers have 17 wins on the season, one more than the Utah Jazz and Cavaliers.

Defeating Cleveland on Wednesday didn't help the Lakers in the lottery standings.

The 76ers, with just 15 wins, are in direct competition with the Lakers in the 2014 NBA draft lottery.

Injuries should help the Lakers fall even further in the standings (a positive for the franchise long-term), but then the Lakers pulled out a short-handed win in Cleveland.

Philadelphia is a young, athletic team. While they've struggled for wins this season, they should be a challenge for the Lakers on Friday.

ALSO:

Mitch Kupchak: 'Unfortunately, we're going to have a good draft pick'

Injuries: Not a single Laker has played in every game this season

Chris Kaman confused by foul calls in Lakers-Cavaliers game

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