Records: Lakers 9-14 (12th in the West), Wizards 3-16 (Last in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 106.0 (6th in the NBA), Wizards 93.8 (Last in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102.3 (16th in the NBA), Wizards 101.1 (14th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Chris Duhon, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace,
Antawn Jamison Devin Ebanks, Dwight Howard
Wizards: Jordan Crawford, Bradley Beal, Martell Webster, Chris Singleton, Emeka Okafor
Injuries: Lakers: Pau Gasol (out), Steve Nash (out), Steve Blake (out), Jordan Hill (out); Wizards: John Wall (out), Trevor Ariza (out), Trevor Booker (out), A.J. Price (out)
Hard to know what to say about a basketball game on a day like this. I understand that this is a site that focuses on the game (and only the game), but on a day like today you also have a greater appreciation for the things that really matter in life and how insignificant things like sports can really be.
Last night I lamented on twitter about how I care too much about this particular team and that some of their ups and downs would surely be easier to manage if that weren’t the case. Today you realize the things you really care about, and, if making a list, the Lakers are on there somewhere, but not nearly as high as other things.
That said, the Lakers do play a game tonight and, if nothing else, that event can offer a bit of a reprieve from the other, more serious events of the day.
The Lakers face off against a Wizards team that is one of the few teams you can, even at this point in the Lakers’ underwhelming season, say is worse than the Lakers. They are 3-16, have the worst record in the league, and have several key players out with injury.
Of course, even though these are the facts, there are other pertinent facts coming into tonight that paint a picture of a team on the (slight) uptick. All three of their wins have come in their last 7 games and include a victory over the Heat in Washington. Since they’ve gotten Nene back, they’ve been better in the front court and while Jordan Crawford is the definition of a gunner, he’s helped stabilize the back court via his scoring. Plus, from a numbers standpoint, the Wiz are actually a better defensive team than the Lakers right now, so it’s not like there shouldn’t be some concerns.
The Lakers, then, will play a team that is, technically, worse than they are but at the same time, hotter than they are as well. The Lakers haven’t won a game in over a week and seem to be spiraling more downward with every loss. And while the Knicks game offered a glimpse at some fight and strategic adjustment in the 2nd half, they’ll need to build on that tonight for it to really matter.
In any event, tonight the Lakers would do well to get a win. Seems strange to type that, especially considering the opponent, but it’s the truth. The Lakers need every win that they can get at this point, regardless of quality of opponent or location. Because, simply put, the Lakers aren’t in a position where wins mean anything more than stability in the standings. There are no statements to be made, there are only results that keep them from slipping further behind the teams above them. And, at this point, that matters more than anything else.
So, enjoy the game the best way you can folks. I know I will be trying, inviting the distraction. Hopefully, for us that want the Lakers to win, it’s a happy one.
Where you can watch: 4:00pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.