The Lakers (2-15) play their fourth game in five nights, visiting the Washington Wizards (7-8) on Wednesday night.
Following Kobe Bryant’s Sunday announcement that he’ll be retiring after the season, his farewell tour began in earnest Tuesday as he was given a warm reception in his hometown Philadelphia.
The Lakers fell to the 76ers, and have lost a total of seven straight.
The Wizards also played Tuesday, defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers. Washington is trying to get back to .500, while playing through injuries to Nene (calf), Gary Neal (hamstring), Alan Anderson (ankle) and Drew Gooden (back).
While the Lakers are healthy, they’re clearly struggling to successfully close out another team over a 48-minute contest.
The Lakers draw another team with two dynamic guards in John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Beal is the Wizards’ top scorer at 19.5 points a game, while Wall contributes 17.4 points with 7.7 assists.
The Lakers had their struggles recently against teams with a pair of strong guards, like the Toronto Raptors with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, Portland Trail Blazers with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, and the Phoenix Suns with Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight.
The young duo of Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell continues to improve, despite the Lakers’ record, but the offense is coming on more quickly than the defense.
Wall and Beal will be a challenge on Wednesday.
The Wizards get additional scoring from role players Marcin Gortat, Kris Humphries, Otto Porter, Jared Dudley and former Lakers guard Ramon Sessions.
Washington is not especially strong defensively this season.
To break their losing streak, the Lakers need help from everywhere, from starters Julius Randle and Roy Hibbert to reserves Lou Williams and Nick Young.
Meanwhile, given Bryant’s 30.1% field goal percentage this season, the team would be better off if the farewell tour involved fewer shot attempts.
The Lakers just lost to the 76ers (1-18). Until they show something else, they’re not going to be the pick for any matchup.