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Did we jinx the Los Angeles Lakers? It's entirely possible. Two weeks ago, we argued that their recent improvement would likely prevent the New Orleans Pelicans from stealing Victor Wembanyama. And then on Friday, Anthony Davis suffered a foot injury that will keep him sidelined for at least a month. A more plausible explanation is that Davis played the entire second half and all of overtime in the that instant classic against the Celtics in the Lakers' previous game, or that he was simply the victim of bad luck, but given the reverse jinx this weekly feature placed on Killian Hayes, we can't rule out some sort of magical intervention.

Regardless, the Pelicans are back in the ballgame. Davis might miss a month. He might miss longer. The more games he misses, the less likely it becomes that the Lakers make a trade to salvage this season. If they don't make a trade, Davis and/or LeBron James become likelier to miss games at the end of the season that have no stakes. The Lakers aren't going to finish with the worst record in the NBA. But fifth or sixth? That's on the table again.

Wemby, Mets 92 end skid with big win

Mets 92 and Wembanyama dropped two straight against Roanne and to Monaco but bounced back over the weekend in a big way with a 91-71 road beatdown of Paris Basketball. Wembanyama dealt with foul trouble throughout and his struggles from 3-point range continued -- he fouled out and went 1-of-5 from beyond the arc, making him 2-of-15 in his last three games from distance -- but he nonetheless had a major impact as his team got a much-needed win. As usual, that came especially on the defensive side of the ball as he tallied a season-high six blocks, including another jaw-dropping defense-to-offense sequence.

Watching Wemby

There is but only two games left in the calendar year for Wembanayama and his Mets 92 team with a home game on Friday vs. Cholet followed by a road game at Strasbourg before a circle-this-date game Jan. 6 against ASVEL -- Wembanyama's former team. Cholet sits third in the LNB Pro A standings one spot behind Mets 92 after Monaco took down Mets 92 and seized control of the top spot in the league's standings, so the coming games figure to loom large for the regular-season race.

  • Friday, Dec. 23: vs. Cholet (2:30 p.m. ET)
  • Tuesday, Dec. 27: at Strasbourg (2 p.m. ET)
  • Friday, Jan. 6: vs. ASVEL (2:30 p.m. ET)

Cholet has an experienced squad led by former Kansas standout Perry Ellis and leading scorer Dominic Artis, a former Oregon player who later transferred to UTEP. Former first-round pick Justin Patton, the team's third-leading scorer and rebounder, is also part of the crew that will look to hold serve versus Mets 92 on Friday in a pivotal regular-season showdown.

Race to the bottom

Each week, we'll rank the seven teams likeliest to earn the coveted No. 1 slot on lottery night. These rankings will take current record, recent performance, upcoming schedule and injuries into account to subjectively rank the NBA's worst teams.

7. Oklahoma City ThunderThe Thunder stay in the bottom seven but trail the Lakers by only a hair now that Davis is sidelined. The Thunder have a minus-1.6 net rating this season. The Lakers are at minus-6.6 in the minutes they've played without Davis. We have two pretty reliable samples at this point suggesting that the Thunder are better than the Davis-less Lakers. The Lakers get the benefit of the doubt for now, but a couple of losses could drag them back down. 

6. Orlando MagicThe Magic won six games in a row recently before finally seeing their streak snap against the Hawks on Monday. Sadly, that streak was largely the result of great shooting luck. Magic opponents made only 28.8 percent of their wide-open 3s and 27.7 percent of their open ones in those six games. Orlando, meanwhile, made 48.9 percent of their wide-open triples in those six games. There are some good things going on in Orlando right now. Those wins are largely based on randomness that is already starting to regress to the mean.

5. Washington WizardsThere's no randomness going on with these guys right now. (Okay, maybe a little as the Wizards somehow took down the Suns in Phoenix Tuesday night.) Prior to that, Washington had been just terrible -- as in 0-for-December in losing 10 straight. Bradley Beal's return wasn't enough to beat the Lakers without Davis, but he did drop 27 on the Suns. Speaking of the Lakers, Kyle Kuzma (29 points against Phoenix) is pretty openly flirting with his former employer. Feel-good story Kristaps Porzingis is shooting 16 percent from deep in December. The less time wasted on this rotting husk of a basketball team, the better. 

4. Charlotte HornetsIs the return of LaMelo Ball going to save the Hornets? Probably not. They're 2-5 in games he plays and are allowing 120 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor while scoring a meager 106.7 with him off of it. Ball is their only source of reliable offense. Their already bad defense gets worse when he steps on the floor. No matter how good he is, he can't fix the shattered remnants of a roster whose upside, at best, was always capped at the play-in round. 

3. Houston Rockets: Here is a sobering thought: the Rockets are the only team in the NBA to have lost by double-digits to the Spurs. In fact, the Rockets have lost their two games against San Antonio by 28 combined points. San Antonio's eight other wins have come by a combined 48 points. The Rockets may not be losing every game, but boy, are they finding ways to lose the biggest ones. Those two head-to-head victories are the only things keeping the Spurs ahead of the Rockets in the standings right now. 

2. Detroit PistonsWe've already revived one Pistons draft bust, so let's take a swing at another one -- there have quietly been signs of life from Kevin Knox over the past month. In 15 games as a steady member of the rotation, he's averaging just under nine points in around 19 minutes per game. He and Alec Burks are the only Pistons with a positive net rating, and he's shooting very well despite a relatively meager sample. This is how bad teams should spend their rotation minutes. The Pistons took a swing on a talented player who hadn't found his footing in the NBA, and thus far, it's paid off for them.

1. San Antonio Spurs: Rookie Jeremy Sochan is shooting 43 percent from the foul line this season. He shot roughly 59 percent at Baylor. So on Monday, he experimented a bit with a one-handed release. 

He went one-for-four, so we may not see this form for very much longer, but give the rookie some credit. Unlike many poor free throw shooters, he's actually willing to look a bit foolish in search of better results.

Loss of the week

Congratulations to the blow-it-up Bulls for dropping a staggering nine spots in the defensive rating rankings from ninth to 18th (h/t SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell) over the course of a single game. Chicago allowed a Minnesota team that isn't exactly lighting the world on fire to drop 150 points on their heads Sunday, and if you're wondering if the defensive tape is as bad as the numbers, I promise you, it was!

The Bulls are now 12-18. Any designs they might have had on turning this season around should have slipped away by now. If they can't even be bothered to guard an elite shooter as his team walks the ball up the court, there's just no saving this group. 

Games of the weak

Friday, Dec. 23: Spurs at Magic: We've covered why we don't believe in either of these teams, but it's worth noting that the Magic are 6-1 in their last seven and the Spurs are 4-2 in their last six. Both of these teams are picking up wins they'd probably prefer to avoid, and that puts pressure on both to find a way to lose on Friday.

Friday Dec. 23: Hornets at Lakers: The Spurs and Magic may want to lose, but the Lakers badly need a win on Friday. With Davis out, getting the gimmes is going to be critical. 

Monday, Dec. 26: Rockets at Bulls: Despite outlasting the Heat Tuesday night, there's a reasonable chance Chicago enters this game 1-6 over its last seven. The Bulls, currently losers of four of five, will visit the Hawks on Wednesday and then the Knicks on Friday. If they are going to make it out of Wemby Watch, we'll know by the time this post-Christmas matchup is over.