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Wizards vs. Lakers preview: Washington looks to get back above .500 as Los Angeles comes to town

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NBA: Washington Wizards at Los Angeles Lakers Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

John Wall and the Wizards will look to exact revenge on the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday evening at the Capital One Arena. The last time these teams met, Los Angeles erased a 10-point fourth quarter deficit and handed Washington their first loss of the season.

Once again, Washington has a ‘winnable’ game on paper against an inferior opponent who’ll be playing on the second half of a back-to-back. But if you’ve watched the Wizards these past two weeks you know very well that no game on the schedule should be considered a gimme.

A loss would put Washington under .500 for the first time since January 6th of last season.

Game Info

When: Thursday, November 9 at 7 p.m. ET.
Where: Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.
TV: NBC Sports Washington
Win Probabilities: Washington has an 80 percent chance of winning, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Injury Report

Wizards: Sheldon Mac (Out, Achilles)

Lakers: Larry Nance Jr. (Out, Thumb), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Game-Time Decision, Hip), Andrew Bogut (Game-Time Decision, Back)

What to Watch For

Which Wizards team will show up?

Washington beat the Toronto Raptors in Toronto on Sunday evening without John Wall only to drop a game to the worst team in the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks 113-99 on Tuesday evening. And after every loss this season, the post-game interviews sound like a broken record. You know, the Wizards were ‘too cool’, ‘didn’t bring the energy defensively’, have to lose the ‘cakewalk’ mentality.

It’s still very early in the season, however, losing a fourth straight game at home would make a bad thing worse.

First quarter should tell all

The Wizards are third in the NBA in scoring averaging 111.4 points per game thanks to fast starts in most games. As mentioned, the young Lakers will be playing in the second half of a back-to-back after facing the Celtics Wednesday night. In short, there’s no reason why Washington shouldn’t be able to set the tone early. We’ll be able to tell if the Wizards have their heads in this one or are treating it like another ‘cakewalk’ within the first few minutes.

John Wall vs. Lonzo Ball Round 2

The stats will show that John Wall won the individual battle the first time these two met, but Ball and the Lakers got the all-important win. We’ll see if that changes in our second and last look of the season of the much-anticipated Wall vs. Ball matchup.

A random moment in Wizards - Lakers history: John Wall hits a three-pointer over Kobe Bryant and gets fouled to ice the game back in 2015.

Shimmying ensued.