Preview: Lakers vs. Washington Wizards

Preview: Lakers vs. Washington Wizards
John Wall, left, driving past Chris Paul in the NBA All-Star game, is averaging 19.8 points and 8.8 assists for the Washington Wizards. (Paul Buck / EPA)

The struggling Lakers (22-45) play a winnable game on Friday night at Staples Center against the Washington Wizards (35-33).

The Wizards have lost two straight, including a 116-103 loss in Portland on Thursday. Neither Marcin Gortat (back) nor Nene (knee) played for the Wizards, who will be visiting the Lakers on the second night of a back-to-back.


The Lakers should have Nick Young and Jordan Hill back from knee injuries. Steve Nash (nerve root irritation) practiced with the team on Thursday, it's unclear if he'll be available against the Wizards but Kobe Bryant (knee) and Jordan Farmar (groin) are out.

Key matchup

John Wall is one of the league's most explosive point guards, averaging 19.8 points and 8.8 assists.

Defensively, Wall generates 1.91 steals a game but is turnover prone at 3.56.

The Lakers are thin at the point with Farmar out.

Kendall Marshall will get the bulk of the minutes. Through 39 appearances, Marshall is averaging 8.5 points and 9.3 assists while shooting 41.3% from the field and 43.7% from three-point range.

Jodie Meeks may draw the defensive assignment on Wall, but given that would put Marshall on Bradley Beal, it's a problem in itself.

Beal is averaging 17.1 points while shooting 40.9% from the field and 41.0% from three-point range.

Meeks is one of the Lakers' top scorers at 15.3 points a game.


If the Wizards are without Gortat again, Pau Gasol should have a big night on Friday.

Gasol is almost averaging a double-double this season with 17.8 points and 9.8 rebounds.

Washington started Kevin Seraphin in Gortat's place on Thursday but the team's recent spark has come from Drew Gooden, who hasn't been with the Wizards for even a month.

Gooden is averaging 10.1 points and 5.2 rebounds while Seraphin is at 5.4 points with 2.6 rebounds. Both should put up bigger numbers in the absence of Washington's top bigs.


Offensively, the Wizards have gotten 14.9 points a game from former Lakers forward Trevor Ariza.  He's shooting 42.2% from three-point range this season.


The Lakers will get a boost from Young against a short-handed, tired Wizards squad.

Given the Lakers are better off losing to improve their lottery position, they may get an unhelpful win on Friday.


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