Kobe Bryant directs the offense as Jared Dudley defends. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
The Lakers have climbed to eighth place in the Western Conference with a 5-5 record. Despite their 1-4 start, the team is only one win behind predictions for Weeks 1, 2 and 3.
Already with Coach Mike D'Antoni's influence, the Lakers have raised their scoring average to 100.5 points a game. D'Antoni has said his goal is in the 110-to-115 range.
The Lakers haven't beaten any top-tier team yet this season. With four games over a five-night stretch, D'Antoni's debut will not be an easy one.
The following is a breakdown of the Lakers' Week 4 schedule (through Sunday):
Tuesday vs. Brooklyn Nets
The Nets are coming in at 6-2, and with the combination of Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace, they'll have defenders to throw at Kobe Bryant. The Lakers will still be without Steve Nash, and Steve Blake remains a question mark.
Darius Morris will have his hands more than full trying to deal with Deron Williams.
Playing on emotion for D'Antoni, the Lakers will put up a lot of points. Can they pull out a win?
This one is iffy, but mark it down as the team's third straight victory.
Wednesday at Sacramento Kings
The Kings handled the Lakers well in the preseason, but this is a very different Lakers squad.
L.A. won comfortably over Sacramento in Los Angeles on Nov. 11, although the Kings were without DeMarcus Cousins and Thomas Robinson (both suspended).
Playing on the second night of a back-to-back (even against a 2-8 team) will be a challenge for the Lakers.
Mark it down as another win for the Lakers, but neither the Kings nor the Nets is a lock, by any stretch.
Friday at Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies are currently 8-1, winning eight straight after losing their season opener. If the Lakers are ready to make a statement, they'll win all three to start the week.
Memphis has size, can score and defends well as a group. The front court of Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay is a powerhouse. Mike Conley is one of the most underrated point guards in the league.
The Lakers may not be ready just yet for this kind of challenge.
Saturday at Dallas Mavericks
The Lakers come into Dallas looking to avenge their opening-night loss.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, it's their fourth game in five days, with three on the road. The legs won't be strong enough.
Dallas is currently 6-5. Even without the injured Dirk Nowitzki, they're tough, deep and well-coached.
The Lakers end the week where they started, at .500.
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