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Lakers: Week 4 predictions

Kobe Bryant directs the offense as Jared Dudley defends.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The Lakers have climbed to eighth place in the Western Conference with a 5-5 record. Despite their 1-4 start, the team is only one win behind predictions for Weeks 1, 2 and 3.

Already with Coach Mike D’Antoni’s influence, the Lakers have raised their scoring average to 100.5 points a game. D’Antoni has said his goal is in the 110-to-115 range.

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The Lakers haven’t beaten any top-tier team yet this season. With four games over a five-night stretch, D’Antoni’s debut will not be an easy one.

The following is a breakdown of the Lakers’ Week 4 schedule (through Sunday):

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Tuesday vs. Brooklyn Nets

The Nets are coming in at 6-2, and with the combination of Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace, they’ll have defenders to throw at Kobe Bryant. The Lakers will still be without Steve Nash, and Steve Blake remains a question mark.

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Darius Morris will have his hands more than full trying to deal with Deron Williams.

Playing on emotion for D’Antoni, the Lakers will put up a lot of points. Can they pull out a win?

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This one is iffy, but mark it down as the team’s third straight victory.

Prediction: Lakers

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Wednesday at Sacramento Kings

The Kings handled the Lakers well in the preseason, but this is a very different Lakers squad.

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L.A. won comfortably over Sacramento in Los Angeles on Nov. 11, although the Kings were without DeMarcus Cousins and Thomas Robinson (both suspended).

Playing on the second night of a back-to-back (even against a 2-8 team) will be a challenge for the Lakers.

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Mark it down as another win for the Lakers, but neither the Kings nor the Nets is a lock, by any stretch.

Prediction: Lakers

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Friday at Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies are currently 8-1, winning eight straight after losing their season opener. If the Lakers are ready to make a statement, they’ll win all three to start the week.

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Memphis has size, can score and defends well as a group. The front court of Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay is a powerhouse. Mike Conley is one of the most underrated point guards in the league.

The Lakers may not be ready just yet for this kind of challenge.

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Prediction: Grizzlies

Saturday at Dallas Mavericks

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The Lakers come into Dallas looking to avenge their opening-night loss.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, it’s their fourth game in five days, with three on the road. The legs won’t be strong enough.

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Dallas is currently 6-5. Even without the injured Dirk Nowitzki, they’re tough, deep and well-coached.

The Lakers end the week where they started, at .500.

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Prediction: Mavericks

ALSO:

Kobe Bryant notches triple-double as Lakers top Rockets, 119-108

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Kobe Bryant takes over as the league’s leading scorer

Lakers readying for faster pace

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You can email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.


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