The Lakers (8-31) will host the New Orleans Pelicans (11-25) on Tuesday night.
New Orleans has lost three straight games, falling back to 14th place in the Western Conference, ahead of just the Lakers. Last season, the Pelicans were a playoff team but injuries and poor play have yielded a different result this time around.
The Lakers have recently improved as a team but are still stuck at eight wins after losing four in a row.
Tuesday’s matchup means, then, that one of the struggling franchises will end its losing streak.
New Orleans has announced that Quincy Pondexter will have surgery on his knee. Anthony Davis (back) is a game-time decision.
The Lakers list D’Angelo Russell (ankle), Brandon Bass (eye) and Julius Randle (foot) as probable for the game, while Kobe Bryant (Achilles) is questionable.
The Pelicans are obviously a different challenge with Davis. The fourth-year forward/center is averaging 22.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a game.
He’s also shooting a career-low 48.9% from the field and giving up a career-high 2.3 turnovers a night.
If Davis cannot go, shooter Ryan Anderson likely will get the starting nod.
Regardless, Lakers starter Larry Nance Jr. and reserve power forward Randle have their work cut out for them. Davis is among the best in the league at his position, while Anderson can be a difficult cover on the perimeter.
Both Nance and Randle are prolific rebounders. Nance is the more efficient scorer of the two, although he’s rarely looking for his shot.
The Pelicans have capable offensive players such as Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon. Holiday is currently being used as a reserve, with Evans starting at point guard.
The Lakers need offense from Jordan Clarkson and Lou Williams, especially if Bryant and Russell are unable to compete.
The Lakers probably should win on Tuesday, but the uncertain status of Bryant and Russell gives the Pelicans the edge.