Preview & Chat: The Washington Wizards

Darius Soriano —  December 14, 2012

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.

Darius Soriano

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63 responses to Preview & Chat: The Washington Wizards

  1. Well said – distraction is needed.

  2. darius: do appreciate that you acknowledge the events of today’s tragedy; adds a human touch and brings to the surface what is really important in life.
    blessed be to those who have suffered lost of loved ones in their lifetimes.

    Go Lakers

  3. the other Stephen December 14, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    agreed. life is so fragile. i think we all feel as if those children were our own. basketball is just a game: 29 teams and cities lose out every year. it’s still early, and i believe our guys have it in them to turn it around, but this is a perspective a lot of fans need right now.

    for Warren!

  4. “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.”
    _______

    True indeed Darius. True indeed. An excellent, heart-felt post. I can feel your pain through your words.

    As for our Lakers, simply put, lets get this one.

  5. All of a sudden the Lakers problems have very little urgency in my life.

  6. Update: Devin Ebanks will start in Jamison’s place tonight. Looks like D’Antoni is going with the small ball lineup that closed well against the Knicks.

  7. Updated #2: Jordan Hill is out tonight with back spasms. Expect to see Sacre again tonight as Dwight’s back up.

  8. Peace & Blessings to all who were effected by today’s horrible event. Looking forward to the distraction of NBA games tonight. Like the Lakers, the Wizards will be playing w/o their floor general. This is an unfair game for the Lakers. A win won’t mean too much vs the worst team in the league. A lost team w/o one player who averages more than 15 ppg. But a loss would be viewed as hitting rock bottom. But that’s the position the Laker franchise (players, coaches, front office, & owners) have put themselves in based on their decisions on personnel, playing style, and individual goals.

    Go Lakers, double digit victory, 15+ points (that’s about the limit of my faith in this team at this point).

  9. Great passes from Duhon this evening to Dwight and Ebanks

  10. Kobe’s back is hurting. Can see it on no lift on shot. Needs help tonight.

  11. Still hasn’t stopped the ballhog from shooting as many shots as the rest of team combined!!

  12. What a fundamentally poor team. Guys like Hiward, Meeks and Jamison along with Kobe’s handle are really sad. Today Kobe said he was going to act like a PG until Nash came back. Right!

  13. kobe needs to start sharing the ball more or at least make better decisions on his shots. if he shoots the team out of the game tonight people are not going to be happy.

  14. Sad. Just the worst team in the NBA they have become. Sad.

  15. dwight has no offensive game, not impressed by his defense either. hopefully he still has much improvement to come because this is not going to cut it

  16. Duhon passes up so many 10 footers when he comes off the screen. I know I sound like a broken record but when Nash comes back he will take advantage of those type or opportunities.

  17. what game are you watching? Look at the 2nd unit w/Dwight. They are still TO machine. Kobe had 6 asts last night vs NYK and still blame Kobe for taking too many shots? He is on the bench man.

  18. Howard is so overrated.

  19. Lakers have become the laughingstock of the entire sports world! Embarrassed to be a fan!!

  20. Sacre outplaying Howard. This team is screwed.

  21. If Meeks and Ebanks keep playing like this, they have a shot to pull this out.

    Wait. Did I just type that? At least the game’s tied now.

  22. Refs sent Dwight to the bench because 2 out of the 3 fouls that were called against him were bogus. Meeks needs more floor time. 15 mins per game is not nearly enough.

  23. I like this lineup of the young guys w kobe and ron. They did a good job to get the lead back.

    @tra – the fouls were iffy – but dwight keeps putting himself in this position by bringing the ball down or not playing strong or just being lazy/not smrt. No way he’s gonna get benefit of the doubt unless he cleans up his own game first

  24. Lakers moving the ball well tonight. Have seen a couple of possessions with 4 or 5 passes. That, and MWP’s aggressiveness, is refreshing….

  25. Wow. So excited. Lakers are staying with the worst team in the past 5 years in the NBA. And allowing them one of their best scoring half of the year.

    That Jim Buss knows how to build a winning team.

  26. Man, the team is injured, this will not be like this forever guys.

  27. @formalhault – agreed.

    Props to duhon for being professional and at least trying to show up tonight. He’s had some iffy games but at least see full from him every night. As much as they need an upgrade at pt and need nash back – duhon plays good soldier and does his best even if it isn’t quite enough.

  28. Kobe will never get it. He is 4 for 15.

  29. Love Meeks playing hard. not fan of Morris. Not a NBA player. Why can’t we have Meeks/Kobe in back court.

  30. Mike D’Antoni is playing Kobe to the ground. Please give the man some rest. He’s playing Kobe waaayyy to many minutes. Need to cut it down to around 33 minutes per game.

    At the rate his playing him, come all star break, Kobe will new injuries creep in on him.

  31. This team just can’t stand prosperity. So sick of the inconsistency and giving up runs every time they extend the lead.

  32. This team is so lazy. Playing from behind they don’t get back hard, playing with a lead they run back with even less enthusiasm.

  33. Lakers need to win this game.

  34. Howard us a zero and Kibe 8 for 25. He can’t stop his self.

  35. Lakers are struggling like crazy to beat, what is essentially, a D-League line-up. Whatever he score, the Lakers lose. This is ridiculous.

  36. Kobe will plat many minutes because he is the only shot creator on the team. Who will you play? Morris? Liability on offense, in the 2nd Q, the offense was a mess w/out Kobe and more TOs than fgs. Just dont look the box score, watch the game.

  37. Howard needs to post deeper -hes catching too far out and hanging on to the ball wayyyyy too long. His passes out of double teams are turrrrible – as charles would say

  38. Awful “basketball” by Kobe there and I have defended the hell out of him throughout as being the subject of unwarranted attacks. Tonight, more bad Kobe than good, no doubt. Meeks is sitting in the corner wide open.

  39. This game is Denver revisited for Kobe and his shooting tonight. Really the first time all season I’ve been frustrated with him shooting too much in a game, especially since he’s been cold.

    Why don’t our guys just play to their strengths? Why would Dwight ever shoot a 15-footer? Why would Ebanks ever go one on one and shoot a fade away? Plays like that just amaze me.

  40. I Positively want Kobe to stop taking awful shots so we can win.

  41. MDA should sub out kobe now so he can’t score and get 30 -Lakers will lose lol.

  42. Glad to almost get a W but man do we become so predictable down the strecth, so EASY to guard!

  43. I’m happy for this win?

  44. I’ll take inefficient Kobe all day in a win vs. efficient Kobe in a loss. All day.

  45. W. Book it.

  46. I remember simmons wrote a column saying d’antoni basically ended stoudemire’s cateer by playing so many minutes in a short period of time. He’s doing the same here kobe win’t hold up playing 40 mins a night.

  47. Kobe scored 30 and lakers win

  48. Normally I’d be very unimpressed with a W against the worst team in the league and our inconsistent play all game long. But with the struggles we’ve been going thru, I guess any win is impressive. Now let’s see if the team can actually build on it.

  49. Vhanz
    Kobe is great but he was the only starter under 50%. 30% is not going to win aganist real teams. Not only do I watch the games but played collega ball and coached for 12 years.

    No one works harder but he must trust others. Please read one of John Woodens books to learn the game of team basketball.

  50. @kevin_ not too sure about that – MDA only had amare for basically 3.5 seasons from 04-09 (amare was out all of 05/06) and his knees are a degenerative/micro fracture issue inherent to the player where its gonna happen regardless. Not much he could do about Amare. As for Kobe – no sense worrying about keeping his mins down for later in the season/playoffs if they fall so far out of the race now. On the plus side – as Nash, Howard, Pau recover and play – Kobe won’t need to be on the court near as much.

  51. OMG that was bad, Lakers are lucky to escape that one with a win tonight. Kobe made his best attempt to shoot the team out of the game but fortunately the rest of the team played well enough to carry him. What was he thinking with those shots he was taking? When others are stepping up there is no need for him to be bricking contested 3’s from 30 feet all night. Glad they got the win, but kobe was frustrating to watch.

  52. Good news: We got a W. It was ugly but I’ll take it.

    Bad news: Kobe played the entire second half again. In back to back games, he has played 44 and 43 minutes. Id be ok with the minutes if Kobe was still 22 and still sporting his Fro on. But the dudes 34.

    What is Mike D doing? He’s making Mike Brown look like a genius out there.

  53. Jerke: kobe doesn’t need to play 40 mins unless it’s vs top tier teams. This was one of brown’s biggest flaws playing starters too much. D’antoni should save some juice in those legs.

  54. @kevin – well I wish I could say the Lakers are a top tier team but they absolutely needed to make sure they got this win tonight. MDA woulda sat Kobe last night if knicks hadn’t collapsed and put the outcome in doubt. That being said, MDA wasn’t that bad in phoenix in managing mins – Kobe will get rest later in the year once everyone is back – but for right now, you have to ride your one consistent offensive threat until someone steps up. Just too many stretches where this team has probs scoring to leave him on the bench for long. Kobe did look like he had dead legs tonight though. Even if Pau came back, it would give Lakers a legit go to scoring threat/facilitator so kobe could get some more rest – his knees must be pretty bad though – its been 10 days at least now.

  55. Nash will be Practicing next week.

  56. I’m happy we got a win.

  57. We won

    *golf clap*

  58. A win is a win. Gotta start somewhere.

  59. Kobe will get his rest later because by then the Lakers will be comfortably assured of a playoff spot? In the Western Conference? I don’t think so.

    Barring some kind of catastrophe, top four spots are already out of reach. Golden State and Utah looking very good for the next two. Denver’s had a brutal schedule, Dirk’s coming back soon to Dallas, and Ricky Rubio to Minny. Doubt if there’s very much rest in Kobe’s future at this rate.

    Meaning you can kiss them goodbye if they do get to the playoffs.

  60. Can’t underestimate the importance of this win. Which will be true of just about all wins from now on this year. Good game. Wizards shot very well the first half but the Lakers stayed with them.

  61. #1 problem on offense and defense is kobe bryant…i know thats unpopular but he will not adjust…time to “put your big boy pants on” kobe