Lakers forward Jordan Hill (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )
The Lakers host the Golden State Warriors on Friday, starting a stretch of six consecutive games at home. The Warriors are currently 3-2, two games ahead of the Lakers (1-4) in the Pacific Division standings.
Golden State recently lost swingman Brandon Rush , one of the team's best perimeter defenders, for the season with a torn ACL. Additionally, center Andrew Bogut will take some time off to strengthen his ankle, which was broken last season.
The Warriors haven't been a consistent playoff team for decades, but if healthy, they have a potent squad this season. Against the Lakers they'll be slightly short-handed, with rookie Festus Ezeli expected to start in place of Bogut.
For the Lakers, Steve Nash is still out with a non-displaced leg fracture.
At 27.2 points a game, Kobe Bryant is currently second in the league in scoring (behind James Harden). The Warriors boast one of the league's brighter young shooting guards in Klay Thompson.
Thompson, son of former Lakers center and current radio broadcaster Mychal Thompson, is a capable outside shooter and scorer. Warriors Coach Mark Jackson recently noted that Thompson has made great strides defensively. That will certainly be tested against Bryant.
The Lakers have always seemed to have a problem with undersized power forward Carl Landry. At 6-foot-9, he'll be matched up against 7-foot Pau Gasol and 6-10 Jordan Hill, but Landry tends to be a difficult cover for taller players.
Through five games this season, Landry has averaged 17 points off the bench on 67.3% shooting from the field.
The Lakers get energy off the bench from Hill. Though he rebounds well in limited minutes, he's only shot 39.1% from the field while playing through a back injury (herniated disk).
Against the youthful Warriors, the Lakers are going to need Hill's effort to keep them afloat while resting starters.
The Warriors are a difficult opponent. This is a team that believes they are bound for the playoffs this season.
History has nothing to do with the outcome Friday night, and the Lakers will need to be sharp defensively as the Warriors are a very potent offensive unit.
Given the absence of Bogut and Rush along with growing desperation after so many early-season losses, the Lakers should be able to climb to 2-4 with a victory over the Warriors.
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