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Washington Wizards at Los Angeles Lakers Preview

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As has been the prevailing storyline all season, the Lakers see the usual narrative switched around yet again—the usually moribund Wiz rising, while the Lakers continue to sink.

Showtime: 7:30pm PT

Plot: Well, at least the Lakers aren't playing one of the best teams in the league for the fifth game in a row tonight. If that's the brightest upside I can glean, then we might be in for a rough tonight, eh folks?

But maybe not. The Washington Wizards aren't exactly amongst the league's elite.Though in the Eastern Conference, that's not a disqualifier for home court advantage in the postseason.

The Wiz are experiencing their best campaign in years, landing at a decent 35-33 and just three games out of the fourth seed in the East's playoff bracket. They're led by the fabulous John Wall and the sublime Bradley Beal, flanked with a group of talented bigs like Nene and Marcin Gortat. The future of District basketball looks bright, with the team on a distinct path back to prominence. For a franchise where playoff appearances are sparse and championship dreams are a 35 year-old notion, it's a stark change from the norm. Lakers fans everywhere can empathize with that feeling this season, no?

The Lakers continue to sputter to the finish line, coming off of a brutal two week stretch facing the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder two times each. They've gotten banged up along the way, losing back-up point guard Jordan Farmar to a strained groin and the second unit's offense falling apart as a consequence. The good news is that Jordan Hill and Nick Young may both return to the rotation from injury tonight, but the bad news is that Hill wasn't playing much anyway and there's no telling just how Swaggy P will be able to handle just his second game in almost two months.

Washington is just 10-17 against the Western Conference, but that shouldn't necessarily stop them from trouncing the Lakers tonight. With Wall and Beal and some bruising rebounders up front, the Wiz have the exact potion that ails the LA: quick guards with a scoring punch and a potential 10-board disparity. The fact that ex-Wizard Young is returning is still crucial, as the team needs the year's handful of games to figure out just how much they'd offer to retain him this summer.

The Show will try, as they always do, but effort might not be enough against even a mediocre Eastern squad.

--MAMBINO

--Follow this author @TheGreatMambino