The Los Angeles Lakers have hit an all-time low this season with their embarrassing loss to the Philadelphia 76ers last night. The 76ers were winless until the Lakers came into town, but a disgraceful outing by the Lakers allowed the 76ers to earn their first win of the season. The loss, however, was overshadowed by Kobe Bryant’s final homecoming in Philadelphia, who was greeted by cheers and appreciation before and after the game.
The Lakers will face a much more talented Washington Wizards team tonight. The Wizards have struggled this season with just seven wins and eight losses, but they have a much more talented roster than the 76ers. The Lakers will look to end their seven game losing streak on their second night of a back-to-back.
Manning the middle for the Wizards is big man, Marcin “The Polish Hammer” Gortat. Gortat is a big body down low and can impact the game on the defensive end. The Polish Hammer has found a home as a starter for the Wizards and is averaging 11 points and eight rebounds this season. Gortat only averages one block per game, but he alters shots and makes it difficult for opposing teams to score inside.
Another big man that can potentially hurt the Lakers is Nene Hilario. Hilario has had a successful career operating out of the low post. Nene is currently coming off of the bench with Jared Dudley starting at power forward. Dudley is undersized for a power forward, but he spaces the floor for the Wizards guards to penetrate the lane.
The star player for the Wizards is none other than two-time All-Star, John Wall. Wall is an extremely quick point guard with a scorer’s mentality, but he will also find the open man when defenses converge on him. Wall has averaged 16 points and eight assists so far this season, but he has had help from his running mate at the shooting guard position.
Bradley Beal is leading the Wizards in scoring and is a promising young guard with a bright future in the NBA. Beal is a dynamic scorer who is automatic from beyond the arc, shooting 43 percent from the land of three. The shooting guard has an opportunity to be an All-Star in the league someday, and the Lakers need to key in on him on defense.
Keys to Victory:
Keep Foot on the Gas: The Lakers lead by 12 in the first half against the 76ers, but they got comfortable and let the game slip away. The 76ers have the worst record in the NBA and the Lakers should have been able to put them away early in the third quarter, but they got lazy and allowed the Sixers to climb back and win the game. The Lakers need to play four full quarters against a much better Wizards team if they want a chance to win.
Help Defense: It is clear that the Lakers are a horrible defensive team. They lack good individual defenders, but they get hurt when they do not help each other out on defense. When a player gets beat off of the dribble, another Laker needs to help his teammate out. This has not happened all season and their 15 losses are evidence of this.
Play For Each Other: Kobe Bryant jacked up 17 three-pointers in his final homecoming game against the Sixers last night, and although he made his first three out of five, it disrupted the offense for the rest of the game. The body language of his teammates indicated frustration every time Kobe heaved up a three pointer once he cooled off. The team needs to move the ball and take the best shots possible if they want to keep the game close.
Los Angeles Lakers (2-15) vs. Washington Wizards (7-8)
4:00 PM PST, December 2, 2015
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: TWC SportsNet
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 (Spanish)
Wizards Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: John Wall
SG: Bradley Beal
SF: Otto Porter Jr.
PF: Jared Dudley
C: Marcin Gortat
Key Reserves: PF: Nene Hilario, SG: Gary Neal, PG: Ramon Sessions
Lakers Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Jordan Clarkson
SF: Kobe Bryant
PF: Julius Randle
C: Roy Hibbert
Key Reserves: SG: Lou Williams, SF: Nick Young, PF: Larry Nance Jr.