The Washington Wizards look to open 4-0 for the first time in 39 years when they continue a four-game road trip at the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. The Wizards are the only Eastern Conference team without a loss after beginning their trip with a 109-104 win at Denver, riding 83 points from a starting five that has found an early rhythm.
“That’s awesome but we don’t care about that,” center Marcin Gortat told reporters when asked about the perfect start. “It’s got nothing to do with achieving our goal.” Bradley Beal scored a team-high 20 points and Gortat had 13 on 6-of-7 shooting to improve his field-goal percentage for the season to 68. Gortat has already made an impact on Wednesday’s matchup, responding on Twitter to trash talk from Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball’s demonstrative father, LaVar Ball, claiming that Wizards point guard John Wall “will torture” Ball. The 19-year-old Ball was just 3-of-13 from the floor but handed out 13 assists and grabbed eight rebounds in Sunday’s 119-112 loss to New Orleans.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, NBCS Washington, Spectrum SportsNet (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE WIZARDS (3-0): Wall’s scoring total has fallen in each of the last two games while his assists have risen, topping out at 12 - against just two turnovers - in the win over the Nuggets. Beal has at least 20 points in all three games despite a 3-of-12 showing from 3-point range, while forward Otto Porter Jr. owns averages of nine boards and 3.7 steals to go along with 18.3 points. Washington utilized a 37-13 fourth quarter to steal a win versus the Lakers in March, which gave the team a franchise-record five-game road winning streak against Los Angeles.
ABOUT THE LAKERS (1-2): Ball was one of four starters who failed to score in double figures in the loss to the Pelicans, as backups Jordan Clarkson (24 points) and Kyle Kuzma (20) carried the load. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a solid debut with Los Angeles by finishing with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting. The Lakers on Tuesday announced that they have exercised team options on forwards Brandon Ingram and Larry Nance Jr., who are averaging a combined 26 points this season.
1. Clarkson is averaging 19.7 points in 21.7 minutes.
2. Wall entered Tuesday leading the NBA in foul shots made (10) and attempted (11.7).
3. Wizards F Jason Smith (shoulder) missed the last two games.
PREDICTION: Wizards 118, Lakers 113