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Lakers face a gut-check game

Updated: February 5, 2010, 10:19 PM ET
By Dave McMenamin | ESPNLosAngeles.com

If you were hoping to tune in to Friday's Lakers-Nuggets tilt and see a rematch of last season's Western Conference finals, sorry to disappoint you.

Even though Los Angeles has the best record in the West (38-12) and Denver is its closest conference competition (33-16), Kobe Bryant will be playing hurt and Carmelo Anthony may not play at all.

Anthony has missed the Nuggets' last six games with a sprained left ankle and said he won't return to game action "until I'm 100 percent."

Bryant, ...

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