The Los Angeles Lakers' latest struggles haven't cost them any ground in the Western Conference standings, but that can change quickly.

The Lakers look to get back on track and avoid losing their third straight game when they visit the lowly Seattle SuperSonics on Friday.

Los Angeles (39-36) remains in sixth place in the West, but after dropping four of five games, has just a half-game lead over seventh-place Denver. The Nuggets aren't the only team on the Lakers' heels, though, as the eighth-place Los Angeles Clippers are 1 1/2 games back and ninth-place Golden State is three games behind.

"We've just got to get going," Kobe Bryant said after Wednesday's 90-82 loss to the Clippers. "We understand the sense of urgency we have to play with."

Bryant had 29 points and seven rebounds to lead the Lakers on Wednesday, but shot just 13-of-34, including 2-of-10 in Los Angeles' 13-point fourth quarter.

The Lakers had won a season-high five straight before their recent funk, but have struggled with their shooting lately. They averaged 114.4 points on 50.8 percent shooting during their winning streak, but are averaging 94.3 points on 40.5 percent shooting in their last four losses.

Bryant is averaging 32.6 points in his last five games, but is connecting on only 39.6 percent of his shots. The nine-time All-Star has scored just 38 points in two games against the Sonics (30-45) this season, his second fewest against any opponent he has played more than once.

Lamar Odom had 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting against the Clippers, and has scored 39 points in two games against Seattle this season.

The Lakers have split their two meetings with the Sonics, with each team winning on its home court. Los Angeles shot 52.2 percent from the floor in the two games, but has been unable to control the ball, committing 40 turnovers. The Lakers have not lost two games at KeyArena in a single season since 2002-03.

Seattle, which has the second-worst record in the West, lost its third straight Wednesday, 101-92 in overtime to New Orleans. The Sonics outscored the Hornets 19-6 in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime, but were outscored 17-8 in the extra session.

Seattle was outrebounded 55-38 on Wednesday and is being outrebounded by an average of 17.0 boards during its skid.

"We only have seven games left. We have to continue to compete and try to have fun," guard Luke Ridnour said. "We have to make the most of it. There is not too much left, so we have to keep playing because we are all doing something that we love to do. We have to continue to play hard."

Rashard Lewis led the Sonics with 27 points and 10 rebounds against New Orleans. He has 53 points and 14 rebounds against the Lakers this season.

These teams conclude their season series April 15 in Los Angeles.


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