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Lakers vs. Wizards: Start time, TV schedule and game preview

Can the Lakers get back to .500?

NBA: Washington Wizards at Los Angeles Lakers Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Okay… so let’s forget the frustrating loss against the Boston Celtics with a new challenge on the table. The Los Angeles Lakers make a quick turnaround to stop by our nation’s capital to face the Washington Wizards at the Capital One Center — the team’s second outing in a four-game road trip.

These two teams faced each other not too long ago and the Lakers escaped their initial meeting with a thrilling 102-99 overtime victory over the Wizards. In hindsight, we could look back to that win as when the purple and gold discovered their defensive identity. Since then, the team has fielded a top-five defense, posting a stellar 100.9 defensive rating.

The team is still without Larry Nance Jr., who was a huge factor in their last meeting pulling down 10 rebounds along with chipping in a solid 18 points. Kyle Kuzma, who has started in his place, looks to have a bounce back game after a relatively quiet night against the Celtics with only 10 points on 10 shots.

This is a winnable game for the Lakers, and likely a critical game in determining the success of their first true road trip. Coming away today with a win will be huge for bringing back the momentum the team had been building until last night’s disappointing loss.

The team’s defense will keep them in most games night-in and night-out, but it’s their late-game execution that’s been inconsistent. The poor execution at the end of games is common for young teams, so hopefully we’ll see some noticeable improvements on that end — especially if it goes down to the wire like their last meeting did.

Surely, John Wall and co. are going to look for revenge as they set out to defend their turf. The precocious Lakers need to forget last night’s game and bring their A-game if they’re going to get back to playing .500 ball.

Don’t forget, today’s an early start for the Lakers.

Time: 4:00 p.m. PST

TV: Spectrum SportsNet, NSWA