The Washington Wizards were one of six teams in the NBA to win at least 30 games at home last season, but the tables have turned early in 2017-18. The Wizards will attempt to snap a three-game slide at Capital One Arena - and exact a measure of revenge for an earlier road loss - when they host the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.
Washington has allowed an average of 121.7 points in the three straight home losses and let lowly Dallas snap a six-game skid with its 113-99 victory in the nation’s capital on Tuesday. “We are not a team that can just outscore anybody,” Wizards point guard John Wall told reporters. “You have to be able to guard in this league, and we have not done that.” They did to a reasonable degree in a visit to Los Angeles last month but fell apart offensively down the stretch in regulation and lost to the Lakers 102-99 in overtime. Los Angeles has a quick turnaround for this one after dropping a 107-96 decision in Boston on Thursday to open a four-game road trip.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Spectrum SportsNet (Los Angeles), NBCSN Washington
ABOUT THE LAKERS (5-6): Thursday’s loss was the third in a row on the road for Los Angeles, but the squad can be encouraged by rallying from an early 21-point deficit to get within two midway through the third quarter. Brandon Ingram scored 18 points and shot at least 50 percent for the fifth time in his last six contests, while Jordan Clarkson matched him in 27 minutes off the bench. The Lakers made 5-of-24 3-pointers to drop their NBA-worst percentage from beyond the arc to 30.4.
ABOUT THE WIZARDS (5-5): Wall recorded 23 points and 14 assists while fellow guard Bradley Beal also scored 23 in Tuesday’s loss, but only one other player - Otto Porter Jr. (13) - reached double figures as Washington was held under 100 points for the first time since its loss to the Lakers. The squad received a late boost from little-used center Jason Smith, who had not seen any action in the previous two games but sparked a short-lived comeback against the Mavericks with an active 10-minute burst. “He gave us great energy, that’s one thing he will do,” coach Scott Brooks told reporters Wednesday of Smith, who registered one basket, two rebounds and two blocked shots. “It’s just, my job is to find minutes for him. I’ve struggled with that. He hasn’t shot the ball from (3-point range) like he will eventually. … But I got to figure out how to get him some minutes.”
1. Beal scored a game-high 28 points in the previous meeting.
2. Los Angeles rookie PG Lonzo Ball is averaging six points while shooting 10-for-45 over a four-game span, although he has recorded 26 assists and just five turnovers in that stretch.
3. The Lakers are looking to sweep the season series for the first time since 2010-11.
PREDICTION: Wizards 109, Lakers 101