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Lakers: Predictions for Week 14

Lakers: Predictions for Week 14
Lakers guardKobe Bryant tries to split the defense of Clippers guards J.J. Redick, left, and Chris Paul during a drive in the second quarter of a game on Dec. 25. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

With their Saturday night loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, the Lakers have just nine wins in 46 tries, slotting the team last place in the Western Conference.

They'll play four games through Week 14, hosting the Dallas Mavericks (25-21), Chicago Bulls (25-18) and Charlotte Hornets (21-23). They'll also visit the Clippers (28-16) at Staples Center.

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Through 13 weeks of play, the Lakers are two wins behind the cumulative prediction of 11-35.

Tuesday vs. Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks have been one of the better teams in the Western Conference this season, but have slowed a bit, falling to sixth place with a small lead on the Houston Rockets (24-22).

Center Zaza Pachulia, who was nearly voted in as an All-Star starter by the fans, has been sidelined recently because of a leg injury.

Lakers rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. has sat out with a sore knee, and the team has not fared well without him.

The Lakers have dropped six straight. They don't look like a team capable of beating just about anyone lately.

Prediction: Mavericks

Thursday vs. Chicago Bulls

The Bulls are another playoff team running hot and cold lately. Center Joakim Noah (shoulder) is out for the season. The team sorely misses guard/forward Mike Dunleavy Jr. (back). Point guard Kirk Hinrich has been sidelined (quadriceps), as has E'Twaun Moore (hamstring).

Still, Chicago has a strong available roster with players such as Jimmy Butler, Pau Gasol and Derrick Rose.

A couple of weeks ago, the Lakers were far more competitive, but the Bulls should be able to power through with the road win.

Prediction: Bulls

Friday vs. Clippers

The Clippers return home from a five-game trip to host the Lakers.

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Blake Griffin's status remains unclear because of a quadriceps injury, but the team has played well in his absence.

The Clippers are four games behind the third-place Oklahoma City Thunder (33-13), with hopes of climbing in the West -- at the Lakers' expense.

Prediction: Clippers

Sunday vs. Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets are one of the many teams in the East trying to claim a playoff berth. Injuries have complicated that pursuit, with players such as Al Jefferson (knee), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (shoulder), Cody Zeller (shoulder), Nicolas Batum (toe) and Jeremy Lamb (toe) all sidelined recently.

Jefferson and Gilchrist aren't likely to be back in time for the Lakers.

If there's a game the Lakers get this week, it's on Sunday.

Prediction: Hornets

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

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