The Wizards will go for their 16th straight win at Verizon Center Thursday night as they host the Los Angeles Lakers. Washington will try to keep the good times rolling as they’ve won five straight games and nine of their past 10 overall.
After a nice start to the season, the Lakers are trending in the opposite direction. The Lakers have won just two of their past 10 games and will start a five-game road swing on the East Coast against a red-hot Washington team.
This will be the first time in 20 years that the Wizards will be playing the Lakers and Kobe Bryant will not be on the floor.
When: Thursday, February 2nd at 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: The Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 1500 AM and Wizards Radio App
Wizards: Ian Mahinmi (Out, Knee), Danuel House (Out, Wrist)
Lakers: Julius Randle (Game Time Decision, Illness)
What to watch for
Can the Wizards get off to another hot start?
During this tear, Washington has thrived in part because they’ve been playing with the lead rather than playing catch-up. The Wizards fell behind early against the Knicks on Tuesday night but were able to retake the lead in the second quarter and never trailed the rest of the way.
Once again, this is a game that the Wizards should win, on paper at least. The longer a team like Los Angeles can stick around, the more likely it is for an upset to occur. Let’s hope that the Wizards jump on the Lakers early and that this game is not close in the fourth quarter.
Can the Wizards limit their turnovers?
Washington has been a little bit better as of late but they still commit too many turnovers. The Wizards rank in the bottom third of the NBA as they cough the ball up 14.4 times per game. That number has fallen to 12.9 turnovers per game over the last 10, but the Wizards still have their nights when they commit far too many turnovers. The only way the Lakers will win is if the Wizards provide them with extra possessions.
Let’s hope that the Wizards can keep their turnovers to a minimum against a Lakers team which isn’t all that good defensively to begin with.
An opportunity to solidify their position in the standings
Boston and Toronto, two of the teams ahead of the Wizards in the standings, play each other on Wednesday night. Atlanta, the team Washington is currently tied with, plays a surging Miami team on Wednesday, and then head to Houston on Thursday night. If the Wizards win this game and Boston beats Toronto, the Wizards would be firmly in the 4-seed and just one game out of the 3-spot.
Most Likely Wizards Killer: Lou Williams
Because who else would it be?