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Lakers vs. Nuggets Preview: Battle of the top-drafted point guards, Round 2

D'Angelo Russell gets another crack at Emmanuel Mudiay, and the Lakers try to get back on their feet after getting leg-swept by the Thunder.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers took a few days off to mend their wounds after taking a 40-point loss, moving on to Denver to face the Nuggets. They'll be in the Mile High city with their mile deep problems, trying to piece together a win in the first half of a back-to-back.

Watching Emmanuel Mudiay and D'Angelo Russell duel is going to be something fans from both teams are keenly interested in for years. The two top guards coming out of the 2015 NBA Draft have already matched up once, with the Nuggets walking away with a win and Mudiay notching a double-double. Russell's come a long way since that early-November meeting, though his play has come back down after picking things up in Minnesota.

Kobe Bryant expects to play, though he'll remain a game-time decision. His sore right shoulder is just that, according to team doctors that examined him in Oklahoma City, but it's an injury to keep an eye on. The " heavy duty" surgery he underwent last season to repair his shoulder has left his shooting arm so vulnerable head coach Byron Scott's made an open plea for him to not dunk again.

The good vibes that seemed to emanate from Julius Randle and Russell picking up their play were quickly replaced by the same malaise that's plagued the majority of the first third of the season. It'd be nice to see both players get back and track to leave fans with something to feel hopeful about even in a loss -- better if that turns into a win in Denver.

Enjoy the game! The next time we see the Lakers play may be hard to watch with a match against the Thunder Wednesday in Los Angeles.

UPDATE: No Mudiay tonight, who is out with an ankle injury.

Time: 6 p.m. PT


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