The Milwaukee Bucks (26-22) are seemingly vulnerable, with the Lakers (13-35) visiting on Wednesday night.
Milwaukee will be without rookie Jabari Parker and former Lakers point guard Kendall Marshall, both to season-ending knee injuries. Brandon Knight (quad), Ersan Ilyasova (groin) and Zaza Pachulia (calf) have also been sidelined.
Nonetheless, the Bucks have won four in a row and have done an admirable job holding onto a playoff seed, sixth in the Eastern Conference standings -- a full five games ahead of the Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat.
Meanwhile, the Lakers have had their own struggles to stay healthy with Jordan Hill (hip) out, along with Kobe Bryant (shoulder), Julius Randle (knee) and Steve Nash (back), who are all done for the season.
Knight is the high-scorer for the Bucks at 17.7 points a game, along with 5.3 assists.
Last year, the explosive guard scored 37 points at Staples Center against the Lakers.
If he’s unable to play, the Bucks will have to get it done collectively -- something the Lakers are familiar with, without Bryant.
The Lakers will need to contain players like O.J. Mayo, Jerryd Bayless, Khris Middleton, Jared Dudley, John Henson and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Offensively, the Lakers are expected to get Nick Young back from an ankle injury.
Antetokounmpo is a particularly interesting player to watch, a guard/forward with an extremely athletic 6-foot-11 frame.
Now in his second year, Antetokounmpo is averaging 11.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.9 steals and a 1.0 blocks a game, while shooting 49.4% from the field.
The Lakers are relying on rookie Jordan Clarkson at starting point guard. While he’s played well, the Lakers are coming off a poor performance against the New York Knicks. Clarkson has shown that he can score at the NBA level, but has yet to prove he has true point-guard skills.
The Bucks are shorthanded but they’re one of the better defensive teams in the league. The Lakers may compete but aren’t likely to win.