For the rest of the regular season, every game is important for the Los Angeles Lakers.
At 26-29, L.A. is still out of the playoff picture. They trail the Houston Rockets by 3.5 games for the eight seed in the West, and they have just 27 games to make up that ground.
On Friday night, Los Angeles is set to face one of the few teams that will also be competing for the No.8 seed. The Portland Trail Blazers have been neck and neck with the Lakers for much of the season, and the two are set to compete for the third time this season.
The matchup between the two clubs will start at 10:30 p.m. eastern time at Staples Center. Viewers can watch a live stream online of the contest by purchasing NBA League Pass Broadband.
With their win on Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics, the Lakers move a half-game ahead of the Blazers in the conference standings. Neither team has a realistic chance to win the Pacific Division and is looking to sneak into the postseason.
L.A. is 1-1 against Portland this season, but their one loss to the Blazers proved to be costly. Steve Nash went down with an injury, and went on to miss almost one-third of the season.
Dwight Howard will look to build of what might have been his best performance wearing the purple and gold. He scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against Boston.
Kobe Bryant, likely feels confident heading into the game, despite his team's struggles. In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, the future Hall of famer guaranteed that the Lakers would make the playoffs.
Betting Line: Los Angeles -9.5, 203
Prediction: Los Angeles 101, Portland 99