LeBron James and the Miami Heat visit the Lakers on Christmas Day (Chris Trotman / Getty Images )
The Lakers will play four games through Week 9, including Wednesday's marquee Christmas Day battle at Staples Center against the Miami Heat.
The team is hoping to get point guard Jordan Farmar back from a hamstring injury, perhaps in time to play the Heat.
Playing without a point guard has been ... difficult.
Through 27 games, the Lakers have exceeded cumulative expectations by two wins.
Monday at Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns (16-10) recently beat the Lakers at Staples Center, 114-108. L.A. still had Steve Blake and Kobe Bryant, but both are out with injuries (elbow and knee, respectively).
The combination of Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic in the Phoenix backcourt is difficult for most teams to handle this season. The Suns also surround their dual point guards with young, athletic shooters.
The Lakers don't have a point guard, other than the recently signed Kendall Marshall. Steve Nash is still out with back issues and Farmar won't be back in time for Phoenix.
The Suns will have the advantage Monday, although the Lakers have proven to be a resilient opponent when short-handed.
Wednesday vs. Miami Heat
After back-to-back titles, the Heat are still among the top teams in the NBA.
The Lakers could have Farmar back, at least opening the possibility that Coach Mike D'Antoni's offense can be run as designed.
The Heat boast LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen and a long list of role players who have helped Miami score 104.2 points a night while allowing just 96.2.
The Lakers have scored 99.8 a game while giving up 102.9.
Friday at Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz (8-22) are one of the worst teams in the league.
Historically, teams have struggled to win in Utah, but this year's Jazz have a better record on the road (5-12) than at home (3-10).
Gordon Hayward is Utah's leading scorer at 16.4 points a game, but he's shooting just 39.7% from the field.
Derrick Favors scores 13.4 points with 9.1 rebounds a night. Rookie Trey Burke has started to find his game after missing 12 games to start the season.
The Lakers should have the opportunity to break a losing streak in Utah.
Saturday vs. Philadelphia 76ers
After a strong start, the Philadelphia 76ers (8-20) have really struggled.
Point guard Michael Carter-Williams has proved to be a steal, averaging 17.6 points, 7.8 assists and 5.5 rebounds a night.
The Sixers are a scrappy bunch, but seven of their eight wins have come at home.
Philadelphia is just 1-12 on the road.
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Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.