Preview and Chat: Lakers at Wizards

Andre Khatchaturian —  November 26, 2013

Lakers Coming In: The Lakers are on a three game winning streak after defeating Detroit, Golden State, and Sacramento at Staples Center. Two of those opponents may have been inferior, but beating the Warriors was a huge confidence booster for the team.

What’s great for the Lakers is that they’re finally receiving great play from Pau Gasol, who struggled mightily throughout the first handful of games this season. He is finally living up to his role as the Lakers’ top player with Kobe out. They’ve also received solid output and production from role players like Jordan Hill, Jordan Farmar, and Xavier Henry.

While Laker nation is pumped that their team is on a three game winning streak, the biggest news out of Los Angeles this week was Kobe Bryant signing a two-year extension through the end of the 2016 season to stay with the Lakers. The Lakers will be paying him top dollar for his services and while this may not seem such a great idea considering the stringent salary cap rules and the uncertainty surrounding Kobe’s Achilles, it’ll be great to see the Mamba retire as a Laker, especially if he returns to the floor at a high level.

The Lakers land in the nation’s capital for their first east coast swing of the season. This brief three-game road trip will take them through DC, Brooklyn, and Detroit. Last season, the Lakers defeated the Wizards, 102-96, in their only visit to the Verizon Center before losing to them at home, 103-100.

Wizards Coming In: The Wizards have an atrocious 5-8 record which would be bad enough for 13th in the Western Conference. However, because they’re in the weaker Eastern Conference, they find themselves just percentage points behind Philadelphia for the eighth seed. Despite their poor record, the Wizards have won three of their last four games.

The Wizards’ strength is their backcourt led by Bradley Beal and John Wall. Beal leads the team in scoring, averaging 20.6 points per game. Beal is a workhorse. He averages over 40 minutes per game and runs 2.9 miles per game, the highest average in the league. Beal also averages a speed of 4.3 miles per hour on the court, one of the fastest speeds in the league. Meanwhile, Wall runs 2.6 miles per game, tied for fifth highest. Wall is having a career year thus far. He’s averaging 18.6 points and 9.0 assists per game. His defense has improved markedly as he’s also averaging over two steals per game.

All that said, Wall will be without his running mate tonight as Beal has been ruled out with a leg injury that will sideline him for at least two weeks. Missing one of their best players is a major blow for the Wiz and a big break for the visiting Lakers. Meanwhile, in other injury news, coming back from his own ailments tonight for the Wizards will be old friend Trevor Ariza. Ariza won a title with the Lakers back in 2009 and he was averaging 14.8 points and 6.6 rebounds before getting injured this year. He’s also shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc and averaging over two steals per game. His return to the lineup will make the Wizards more athletic.

Keys to the Game: The Washington Wizards are highly efficient from the paint. Marcin Gortat and Nene do a good job down low when they get the ball. However, they don’t really get many touches. The Wizards have the fifth best shooting percentage for shots between 0 and 8 feet in the NBA. The problem is, they only take 30.9 shots per game from that region – tied for fifth fewest in the league.

They take most of their shots from mid range and three point land. With Beal and Wall running the show, this is no surprise. The Wizards take the second most shots per game from 16-24 feet but they also have the second worst field goal percentage from that range. Beal and Wall are both young, dynamic players. It’s not unusual to see young players try to take over and take a high percentage of a certain team’s shots in a game. We saw it in Los Angeles when Kobe was young. While it’s exciting at times, it’s not always effective.

The key for the Lakers tonight defensively will be to force Wall to take plenty of shots from outside. By forcing low percentage shots, the Lakers will be able to limit damage from the paint. Getting off to a fast start may force Wall to start shooting from long distance early. They may see that they’re trailing early and they’ll feel forced to shoot from three point land. If they start missing a lot from long range, this one could swing toward the Lakers side quickly.

Offensively, the Lakers must take advantage of the Wizards’ lack of defensive presence in the paint. The Wizards have allowed the highest field goal percentage on shots between 0 and 8 feet this season. The Lakers must pound it inside to Gasol and Hill and have them do the dirty work.

It’s important that the Lakers don’t get into track meet with this team. Once again, Wall is very fast. No point guard on the Lakers can keep up with his speed, especially in transition. Therefore, the Lakers must make it a focal point to not shoot from far out that often because long rebounds could mean easy transition points for the Wizards.

Where To Watch: Tip off is at 4:00 PST on TWCSN and NBATV.

Andre Khatchaturian

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49 responses to Preview and Chat: Lakers at Wizards

  1. Beal is injured wont be at the game :)

  2. Andre´s closing paragraph says it all.
    Go Lakers!!

  3. Reading the comments on Blue & Gold pertaining to Kobe’s contract extension has been very interesting to me. Mainly because up until this point anyone on this site who didn’t heap praises on Kobe, regardless of what he did or didn’t do, has been vilified & labeled a hater. So much for rational discussions, lol. So for me it’s a breath of fresh air to see even Kobe worshipers have a limit.

    Now just to make my point clear, I don’t blame Kobe for accepting the $$, I blame Jim Buss for giving it to him. And for anyone who doesn’t understand the difference, I don’t have enough time to explain it.

    This contract will be a major topic w/ this player & this franchise until it expires. Whether the Lakers win a title or 2, or miss the post season the next 3 years, whether Kobe comes back and averages 25 ppg for the next 3 seasons or never plays again, this contract will continue to be mentioned.

    Tonight the 7-7 Kobeless Lakers are playing Washington. A win would put them over .500 for the 1st time this season, giving them, obviously, their best record of the season…yet there is no mention of that. Only Kobe’s new $$$’s.

    Let’s go Lakers!

  4. Wrong Sid. Lakers were 1 and 0.

  5. Mainly because up until this point anyone on this site who didn’t heap praises on Kobe, regardless of what he did or didn’t do, has been vilified & labeled a hater.

    Nah. When you provide balanced analysis of Kobe, you get a discussion. When you try to pass off your animus as analsyis, you get called out. And that will continue.

  6. This contract will be a major topic w/ this player & this franchise until it expires. Whether the Lakers win a title or 2, or miss the post season the next 3 years, whether Kobe comes back and averages 25 ppg for the next 3 seasons or never plays again, this contract will continue to be mentioned.

    As long as you are posting here, that is certain to be the case.

  7. I have a post stuck in mod, Sid, but just as a reminder, Darius wrote multiple posts last year calling Kobe out on his D, and was supported here.

  8. @Sid
    Sometimes people write stuff on this site that can misconstrued as trolling. Its hard to tell if somebody is serious or not when they write something like kobe has a big ego and a eat first mentality so nobody wants to play with him. Not saying that you’re the main culprit as I’m referring to people in general.

  9. Kobe is my favorite player in the NBA, but I am not a Kobe worshipper. If anything, the biggest reason that there are so many vociferous “Kobe worshippers” is that there are so many Kobe detractors. There are so many media members and fans -even Laker fans- that seem to take every single opportunity to detract from Kobe’s achievements.

    I echo rr’s sentiments above because almost every post that BigCitySid has posted here has been anti-Kobe. I’m sure that this contract isn’t going to change that…

  10. Let’s go Wizards!

    Wiggins or bust!

    Okay, I’d settle for Julius Randle.

  11. KenOak-

    Well-said.

    Beal’s being out is indeed a break for the team tonight, but I am never happy about an injury.

  12. Dave McMenamin ?@mcten 1h Kobe says he’s “probably weeks” away from his return.

    Dave McMenamin ?@mcten 1h Kobe says that getting the deal from the Lakers before he even played a game yet it makes him want to run through a wall for the team

    Dave McMenamin ?@mcten 1h Kobe on his extension $: “The only number I saw was the one that I agreed to”

  13. After reading all of your comments, pro and against, and listening to the talking heads on the radio, pro and against, I have changed my mind: I like what the FO did here with this signing.

    This signing is more than chasing trophies now. Its about showing respect to a man who has given this city for 17 straight years nothing but his best. There is only one KB and there will only be one KB. He has the drive, determination and professionalism that is unequal in this era where we put a player’s “brand” value ahead of his value to a team or a city.

    As someone on the radio said it today, Kobe is a tiger, a fierce predator who never rests. Kobe was not the type of player to slack off in the offseason. No way. He always showed up in the best shape he could. For training camp. What players do that nowadays? He may not be the type of leader that takes you out for drinks and a trip to the t-t bar, but he is the guy you admire because of knowledge of the game, his work ethic and his relentless competitiveness.

    I realize the salary implications this has and what it means, but after much though now I am OK with the move. Kobe Bryant will do everything in his power to make sure we all know he has earned this paycheck. Just like he has in the past. Whether that means that he moves to a different role with the team, become a different player or help out with recruiting remains to be seen, but what I do know is that based on his track record, Kobe will go out there and give his all, everyday, every night, rain or shine, win or loss.

  14. Blake can’t guard Wall and his passing in curious.

  15. Just horrible defense

  16. Sweet lefty hook Pau .. Sweet

  17. Perimeter defense is just woeful. Nobody can stay in front of their man.

  18. These refs are a joke. 9 fouls to 0 so far . Every move by Wash is a foul.

  19. If LAL can start playing even mediocre defense they will win this game. 7-11 from three and still in a tight game. Blake is offering little resistance out there on D. Meh.

  20. John wall is operating at a different gear than steve blake.

  21. Does Mike see Farmar is way better. Moment he gies out the lead is gone.

  22. Defense was non existent in the 1st half. Also turned the ball over a lil bit too much. 3 pointers keeping us in the game. Our bigs are allowing NeNe to look like a superstar. If Wall ever gets that Jumper to start falling on a regular basis and slows the game down for himself, he’ll be unstoppable.

  23. one thing i seriously hate about D’antoni is his insistence on playing two point guards. it is completely ineffective and our already bad defense just gets worse during that stretch. we are deep enough where we should never have farmar and blake in the game at the same time.

  24. Get Blake out please

  25. 5th TO Blake?

  26. Whats wrong with Xavier Henry? Is he injured?

  27. Jordan Hill with 5 bad sequences in a row. Focus, man. You’re the only way Nené won’t go off for 40 tonight.

  28. Oh there he is.

  29. I keep asking myself why Shawne Williams is out there, and then I realise he’s the only big on the bench.

    Kaman can’t come back soon enough.

  30. Williams 2 for 12 last two games but keeps getting minutes.

  31. I know Wesley Johnson is undersized for the four-spot, but I think I’d rather see him get small-ball run there than Williams for the rest of the game. Shawn is bricking it badly tonight.

  32. A Lakers team with a productive bench and numerous shooters.

    It still takes some getting used to.

  33. 6:24 in fourth quarter Farmar has Lakers rolling how long until Blake is re-inserted?

  34. RE with Kobe ‘s contract….FO did the right think…..All Kobe had to do was say..sign me for 12 million and take care of me in 2 years or so….. The Lakers need to replace / or pay Hill and Gasol. If they dont pay those two…how do you replace what they bring..and if you do pay..then thats it….

  35. Jeebus! Farmar is playing out of his mind tonight!

  36. Gasol with the spin move and the basket to give the Lakers the lead.

  37. Perhaps the coach will read the box score and start playing Farmar more then 17 a game.

    Must have been a kid that used to beat up MD named Jordan as a kid.

  38. omg… WHY ARE WE PLAYING TWO POINT GUARDS!

  39. I have to say that I don’t quite understand why Steve Blake got inserted back into the line-up. The team was rolling until he came back in.

  40. How long is this coach going to keep the journeymen 3rd sting Blake paying 35 minutes and in at end. 6 turnovers and Nash like defense. He is not a starter Mike!

  41. Must have been a kid that used to beat up MD named Jordan as a kid.

    Hilarious

  42. Must have been a kid that used to beat up (this coach) named Jordan as a kid.
    _________

    Best life I’ve had all evening! :)

    Nick, one more pass on that play to Farmar wide open in the corner.

    I like this team.

    I kind of wish that play would have been drawn up for Pau.

  43. Just like the coach drew it up…

  44. Is Meeks still on the team or does. Blake have photo’s of MD and a turkey?

  45. Nick Young got fouled by Nene on his three attempt, but that wasn’t the problem…

    The dead horse has been beaten folded spindled and mutilated above already, but MDA should have ridden the hot hands and kept Blake nailed to the bench and either left X-man in the game or brought in Meeks.

    Also, this game is an LAL blowout if Pau manages to play Nene to a bloody draw.

    Common theme of the year—not bad offense on the road (what you normally worry about with a team full of role players) but bad defense on the road.

  46. When Kobe and Nash return does Farmar play at all?

    MDA will play Blake as Nash’s back up.

    Farmar will catch splinters cheering the bench mob from the bench.

  47. As I’ve mentioned previously, on the road is where this team especially misses Kobe.

  48. It was a winnable game throughout but the Wizards somehow managed to stay a step ahead of us all night. 17 turnovers is way too many turnovers, coupled with weak interior defensive play equals an “L” every time. Hopefully we can regroup and take it to the Nets. GO LAKERS!!

  49. When Kobe and Nash return does Farmar play at all?
    ———————————————————————————————–
    Treylake, don’t worry, Nash ain’t coming back, and Farmar will therefore get plenty of minutes.