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Lakers vs. Sixers Preview: Tanks Collide for a Draft Pick in Philadelphia

Two tanks enter the arena. One will leave.

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Furkhan Aledemir. Robert Covington. JaKarr Sampson. If I asked you which one of those names I made up, you would probably have to go look. Somehow, they are all players for the Philadelphia 76ers this season, whose entire roster sounds like the random player generator in NBA 2K once you are 20 years into franchise mode and the whole league is created players.

As most readers of this fine site are well aware, the Lakers record has only been marginally better, which in the twisted tank-pun filled world in which we now live is a bad thing. But there is good news! With a loss tonight, the Lakers could tie Philadelphia in the win column at 19 apiece, with 9 games left to play for the Lakers and 7 left for Philly. If the Lakers win, they can give up hope of moving any higher in the Tank Rank than fourth, with an outside chance of dropping into fifth if Orlando continues on its own rapidly descending trajectory.

When these two teams last met a little over a week ago, the Lakers were on course to pick up a loss, until Jeremy Lin caught fire, scoring a season-high 29 points, 12 of which came in the decisive fourth quarter. Ed Davis (8 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 blocks) was also a large cog in the win, with his defensive activity helping lead to the Tankers Sixers missing 12 of their first 13 shots in the fourth quarter. Lin, who missed Sunday's game against the Brooklyn Nets with a respiratory infection, will likely be a game time decision. Davis, who was benched Sunday and not happy about it will also likely be a game time decision as Byron Scott continues to play musical chairs with his frontcourt rotation. UPDATE: Lin is out, Davis still a game time decision

The Sixers, who are quietly a top 10 defensive team in the league behind the efforts of second year rookie Nerlens Noel, will need to find some source of scoring similar to the 14 points they got from Thomas Robinson the last two times these two squads faced off if they are to claim victory. The Lakers 28th ranked defense will make that easier for them, but it remains to be seen if Philadelphia has enough shooters, finishers, or honestly desire to make the purple and gold pay for their ineptitude on that end.

Get ready for some suspect injury reports, curious play calling, and weird rotations. Assistant coach Mark Madsen has some experience with this kind of thing, maybe he can give the Lakers a few minutes off the bench.

Most of all, whether you are rooting for a win or a loss, enjoy the (potentially future altering) game everyone.

Time: 4 P.M. PST

Station: Not safe for TV Time Warner Cable Sportsnet