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Lakers start eight-game road trip against winless Philadelphia 76ers

Lakers start eight-game road trip against winless Philadelphia 76ers
Philadelphia's Jahlil Okafor, right, andHollis Thompson sandwich Minnesota's Gorgui Dieng during a free throw on Nov. 23. (Jeff Wheeler / TNS)

The Lakers (2-14) start an eight-game road trip Tuesday, visiting the winless Philadelphia 76ers (0-18).

The Sixers are the only team below the Lakers in the standings, averaging just 90.8 points a game while yielding 102.8.

The Lakers have managed 97.1 points offensively but have struggled most on the defensive end, allowing 106.0 a night.

Kobe Bryant will play his final game in Philadelphia, a last homecoming after announcing Sunday that he'll retire after this season.

The Lakers are expected to get Lou Williams back after the death of his grandfather.

The Sixers have a long list of injured players, including Tony Wroten (knee), Joel Embiid (foot), Kendall Marshall (knee) and Carl Landry (wrist). Forward/center Nerlens Noel also is dealing with a knee injury.

Key matchup

The Lakers will get their first look at rookie center Jahlil Okafor, who the team passed over in June's NBA draft to take guard D'Angelo Russell with the second overall pick. Okafor went to the 76ers third.

Through 18 appearances, Okafor is averaging 17.5 points a game with 8.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks.

The 6-foot-11 Okafor will draw a difficult matchup in Roy Hibbert, who is a defensive presence at 7-foot-2.

Hibbert isn't much of an offensive threat, but if he can stay out of foul trouble, he may give Okafor a challenge.

X-factor

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Rookie guard T.J. McConnell played Russell well in summer league. Despite going undrafted, he's found a role with the Sixers, averaging 6.8 points and 6.2 assists a game, while shooting 50.4% from the field.

Russell started the season slowly but has looked more comfortable and assertive over recent weeks.

On the year, Russell is scoring 10.4 points a game with 4.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists. He's shooting 40.9% overall but has hit 43.9% over the past five games, at 12.4 points with 3.6 assists a night.

Outlook

The Lakers have struggled against teams with two high-scoring guards, like the Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors. The Sixers are still searching for high-impact players in the backcourt.

Look for the Lakers to start their longest road trip in years with a win.

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