Monday night marks the midway point of the 2012-2013 season for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Even after getting back Steve Nash and Pau Gasol from injuries, L.A. has been unable to turn things around. They sit at 17-23 and three games out of the final playoff spot in the West.
Things donâ€™t get any easier for them on Monday night, as they are scheduled to visit the Chicago Bulls. The game will start at 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT. You can watch a free live stream online with TNT Overtime.
Los Angeles is looking to avoid its sixth straight loss on the road. Another defeat would give the Lakers their worst losing streak away from home in eight seasons. L.A. has struggled mightily away from Staples Center, going 5-13 on the road.
Los Angeles Lakers Vs. Chicago Bulls: Where To Watch Free Live Stream Online, Prediction, Preview
"I didn't feel like we were ready to play," said Nash. â€śWe cut too many corners at too many different times in the game and had too big a hole to climb out of. We're just not finding any consistent level out of our group."
Against the Bulls, the Lakers wonâ€™t have a chance if they arenâ€™t ready to play. Chicago is 23-16 on the season and 7-3 in 2013.
Recently, the Bulls have been carried by Carlos Boozer. The power forward recorded four double-doubles, last week, earning him Player of the Week honors.
L.A. could have trouble with a well- rested Chicago team. The Lakers will be paying their second game in two nights, while the Bulls havenâ€™t been on the court since Saturday.
The Lakers biggest issue has been their inability to stop opposing offenses. Having Dwight Howard in the middle, who appears to be hampered by the back surgery he underwent in April, and older guards on the perimeter has allowed the opposition to score 101.6 points per game.
The Lakers one saving grace could be the health of Luol Deng. Thereâ€™s a good chance the Bulls leading scorer will miss the contest with a hamstring injury. Heâ€™s listed as a game-time decision.
Pau Gasolâ€™s return to the starting lineup didnâ€™t improve the Lakers interior defense. Unless Kobe Bryant has one of his better games of the season, L.A. will likely fall to seven games under .500 through 50 percent of the teamâ€™s games.
Betting Line: Chicago-1, 194.5
Prediction: Chicago 98, Los Angeles 90