The Wizards look to bounce back and get redemption when they host the Lakers tonight in DC.
Capital One Arena | 7:00 p.m. | NBCSW | 1500 AM | Buy Tickets
Wizards (5-5): G – Wall, G – Beal, F – Porter Jr., F – Morris, C – Gortat
Lakers (5-6): G – Ball, G – Caldwell-Pope, F – Ingram, F – Kuzma, C – Lopez
Wizards: Sheldon Mac (Achilles – Out)
Lakers: Lary Nance Jr. (Wrist – Out)
Righting the Ship
The Wizards entered the season with the expectation that they would be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. So far, they have yet to hit their stride, playing well at times, but the consistency hasn’t been there, which has left them with a 5-5 record through the first 10 games. While it’s an improvement from the 2-8 start of a year ago, this team knows they are better than a .500 club and should be in the mix for a 50-win season.
According to Brooks, they had a good film session and practice on Wednesday, and in the portion of practice open to the media, it was noticeable how each player’s shirt was drenched in sweat. That’s not always the case the day after a game, as some practices are designed to get extra shots up and don’t have as much physical or cardio work. But, judging from the look of the team after Wednesday’s practice, they appeared to have endured a tough practice, which Brooks said was defense oriented. The Wiz seemed to have taken a step in the right direction on Sunday with the win in Toronto, but it didn’t carry over as they gave up 113 points to a Mavs team that entered the game averaging under 100 points per game.
John Wall said after Tuesday night’s game that he felt that sometimes the team played better defense on the practice court than they do in the games, so we’ll see yesterday’s practice translates to tonight’s game with the Lakers.
Neither Wall (7/22) or Lakers’ point guard Lonzo Ball (2/11) shot the ball well in their last meeting, but they can both affect the game in ways other than scoring, and they’ll be on center stage again tonight.
Redemption Against Lakers
When the Wizards were in L.A. two weeks ago, they led for nearly the entire second half, but the Lakers rallied down the stretch, sent the game to overtime, and then won it 102-99 in OT. It was the first loss of the season for the Wizards, and the team has gone just 2-4 since that game.
The Wizards didn’t play their best that night, but they knew they let one get away, and they’ll enter tonight’s game rested with a chance to get redemption against a Lakers’ team that had to play last night in Boston.
Lakers Showing Improvement
Before last night’s loss in Boston, the Lakers had won three of their last four and had shown signs that they were a young team on the rise. Even after a tough start last night, they came back and gave Boston a game, proving that they can’t be taken too lightly.
Their one lone veteran starter, Brook Lopez, had his streak of scoring 20+ points snapped last night, after he had done so in the previous three games. The youthful frontcourt pairing of Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma have played well, with Kuzma just recently moving into the starting lineup with Larry Nance Jr. out with a broken hand. Despite their most highly touted rookie, Lonzo Ball, not shooting the ball well, he’s still stuffing the box score, averaging over six assists and six boards per game.
While the Wizards enter as a favorite again tonight, they don’t need to look past what’s happened to them at home over the last week to know they can’t look past any team when playing at Capital One Arena.
The Wizards’ homestand continues on Saturday when they play the Atlanta Hawks for the first time since last year’s playoff series. (7:00 p.m.)