The Lakers failed to get back on track in Week 12, dropping to 17-23. In 12th place in the Western Conference, the Lakers have a challenging road ahead if they're to climb back into playoff contention.
The team is seven losses below the cumulative predictions for weeks 1 through 12.
Monday at Chicago Bulls
The Bulls play formidable defense. That's their hallmark.
Offensively, they've struggled without Derrick Rose, but at 23-16, they're still one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Lakers will have a difficult time getting a win in Chicago on the second night of a back-to-back, although it's unclear if Luol Deng will play because of a sore hamstring.
While the Lakers are just 5-13 on the road, the Bulls are surprisingly mediocre at home (11-11). Chicago is relatively dominant on the road at 12-5.
This is the game to steal ...
Wednesday at Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies are a tough, physical team. They're holding opponents to just 89.6 points a game.
Tony Allen is one of the best defenders in the league against Kobe Bryant. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph complement each other in ways Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard just haven't been able to figure out.
Rudy Gay and Mike Conley round out one of the best starting lineups in the league. The Grizzlies don't have great depth, but enough.
Friday vs. Utah Jazz
The Jazz have been playing well lately but they're much more successful at home (13-4) than on the road (9-15).
Point guard Mo Williams is sidelined but Utah has managed with Jamaal Tinsley, Randy Foye and Earl Watson manning the position. Gordon Hayward always seems to give the Lakers a difficult time.
This will be Lakers' final meeting against the Jazz. Utah has swept both games this season.
Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter give them tremendous size and present a difficult matchup in the post. The Lakers counter with Howard and Gasol.
Sunday vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Do the Lakers look like a team ready to take on the best in the league?
The Thunder are explosive offensively. Can Bryant slow Russell Westbrook?
Oklahoma City can put Kevin Martin in the backcourt with Westbrook (along with Kevin Durant at small forward), making Steve Nash a defensive liability.
On the other end, Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison are formidable defenders against Howard and Gasol.
A Lakers win would be a leap into respectability, but victory seems unlikely.
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Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.