Lights, camera, action: The Washington Wizards face the Los Angeles Lakers on national tv this evening! For the first time this season, our plucky group gets to showcase all that we’re about for the national audience. And with a national audience comes regional pride. And to assist in
talking writing some trash, but giving objective-yet-biased analyses, we bring back LeBron Lakers fan, Travis Bent, to remind him of his faulty prediction last time around and to give him a chance to atone in predicting tonight’s duel. Bulletin Board Material.
ROC: The last time the Wizards played your Lakers, you wrote that the Lakers didn’t need Anthony Davis to beat the Wizards. And I recall you writing that Russell Westbrook would “shoot and/or turnover the Wizards out of the game.” Remember those predictions? Don’t rack your brain trying to remember; the only thing worth remembering is that the Wizards beat the defending champions on their home court! And now we get to run it back—in primetime!
Travis Bent: Why must we bring up old stuff? As the artist Drake once said, “Forget the past, how do we match up now?” This Wizards team is a wild card, to say the least, but I’m predicting the defending champions get their second straight win, exacting revenge on one of the eastern conference minnows fighting to make the novel play-in tournament. It’s time to play bully!
Who wins and why
ROC: A repeat of the Feb. 22 outing is in the cards. Not only a repeat of a Wizards win, but also an encore in regards to the fate of Wesley Matthews. There’s a running, ‘doing cardio’ joke about NBA players that log 0 points in an extended amount of playing time. Having laid a donut in the 26 minutes he logged during the previous matchup, Wes Matthews was effectively out there on the court doing cardio against Beal.
And like most of us after a cardio session, he immediately proceeded to make a bad nutritional choice, as he ordered up a 33-piece Beal special. I wouldn’t be shocked if Beal, who is fresh off giving the San Antonio Spurs a round of 45, gives Wes another 30 plus. With that in mind, the Lakers might want to add him as a late addition to the injured list.
But there will be some twists. In the last outing against the Wizards, the Lakers were without Anthony Davis and Dennis Schröder. With a hobbled AD back in the lineup, the non-CTE-addled portion of my brain tells me to fear his reinsertion. But the recent bias portion pushes me to worry not.
Which has the better of it? I don’t know. But I do know that AD, Montrezl Harrell, and Marc Gasol will struggle to guard the likes of Daniel Gafford, Alex Len, and (if healthy) Robin Lopez. Please let Frank Vogel give Marc Gasol the minutes he’s clamoring for; our bigs will have him regretting the grips he’s made over his lack of playing time. Len will bring the thunder, Gafford the lightning, and Lopez the hooks.
And as for Dennis, it’s been a joy to recall that when under crisis, California needs only turn to a German speaker for leadership. And so y’all know, Arnold Schwarzenegger is Austrian and German is their official language. Kinda like English is America’s de-facto national language even though we’re not England (wait, we don’t have an official language in America).
Or maybe more like French is the official language of both Congo-Kinshasa and Congo-Brazzaville though neither country is France.
Anyway, I’m getting off-topic but you get the point.
With LeBron and AD sidelined, Dennis has done his best Schwarzenegger impression, governing and keeping the Lakers afloat in the western standings. But until LeBron is back, we have no reason to fear this crop. Hasta la vista, Lakers.
Wizards complete the sweep, winning in a close game, showing the country that the District of Columbia’s professional basketball team is the real deal. Here comes a DUB!
Travis: I’ll be the first to admit that I counted out the 7-games-below-.500 Wizards. But even after an impressive eight-game win streak, there’s no way they sweep the champions.
And here’s why: The game is more meaningful this time around. When we last played the Wizards, we took the game for granted, blowing a 17 pt, second-half lead. But now we’re in a fight to get the fourth seed, enabling us to have home court for at least one round in the playoffs. And while our leader is still rehabbing, our co-star has returned. Anthony Davis’ return spells doom for the Wizards.
I’ve seen a lot of talk about the Wizards' new leaper, Daniel Gafford. But the overhyping must stop. Outhustling the mediocre, lead-footed bigs in the east may be one thing, but going against our frontcourt will challenge him in ways he can’t imagine. Montrezl will overpower him, Marc Gasol will outthink him, and AD’s skillset will be too much for Gafford and Co. to handle.
Unfortunately for you guys, AD has had had three games to knock off the rust, so I fully expect him to catch his rhythm and deliver. Not only will AD put the Wizards' centers in foul trouble, but he’ll also embarrass them with his perimeter game, as he stifles their hopes and hooks on the defensive end. It won’t be fair.
Dennis being available has me looking forward to the individual matchup with Russ. In a story as old as time, it’s pupil v. teacher. I expect another triple-double from Russ, but my bias predicts that Dennis will drop 30 to offset Russ’s outing (a big outing from Dennis brings me closer to another fantasy championship!).
Last go around, we were treated with a back-and-forth OT thriller. I expect another close game but the edge to the Lakers; we are entering the playoff stretch and this feels like a must-win. I wanted to be the one to end your streak but I’ll settle for second prize—sending you to a loss in front of the American people. Lakeshow wins.