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Game Preview: Lakers try to punch their way out of losing streak vs. Clippers

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Round two of the Los Angeles cross-hallway rivalry is on tap tonight.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have sunken to the lowest point of the season, dropping eight straight games as they crawl to the finish line of January. To avoid nine straight, they'll have to beat Chris Paul and the Clippers in the red and blue version of Staples Center.

You could say the Lakers have a puncher's chance for a win Friday night as Blake Griffin is expected to miss extended time after needing surgery on his hand. If you (somehow) haven't heard, he got into a physical altercation with one of the Clippers' equipment staffers and broke his hand. Some stories write themselves for the greater good of the people.

Broken hands or not, the Lakers aren't looking like a team that can beat anyone for 48 minutes. The Philadelphia 76ers, since acquiring Ish Smith, are arguably better. A completely imploded Phoenix Suns team may be the only one left in the league the Lakers could win two out of three games over, and that's still a risky bet at best. The issues are rampant and real, to that point that even Byron Scott calling out D'Angelo Russell for being "lazy" with the ball is actually a fair assessment. Russell had a few incredibly basic passes turn into fast break points for the Bulls because of the lackadaisical manner he was playing.

Having Chris Paul in his jersey all night won't make matters any easier for Russell.

The Lakers typically do a good job of getting up to play the Clippers, and they nearly completed what would've been an amazing comeback on Christmas Day. Could this be the night they find their first win since Jan. 12? Enjoy the game, and beware of Blake if he's watching in a restaurant near you.

Time: 7:30 p.m. PT

TV: TWCSN, PRIME