The Los Angeles Lakers will come back from Thanksgiving riding a nine-game winning streak and boasting a league-best 16-2 record. Playing at home against the Washington Wizards, one would expect those trends to continue.
One trend that everyone might like to see die a slow, painful death is the team’s willingness to let inferior teams hang around much longer than they should. This approach to games nearly cost them Wednesday night in New Orleans, and will almost assuredly catch up to them once their schedule gets tougher.
Hell, even the Wizards (6-10) are more than capable of getting hot and beating just about anyone. Washington currently boasts the league’s second-best offense, scoring 113.5 points per 100 possessions. The Lakers have actually been climbing in this regard, now holding the league’s sixth-best offense (111.2 ORTG).
Unfortunately for Washington, their defense is somehow even more explosive than the offense. They give up 114.7 points per 100 possessions — bad enough to be the worst defense in the NBA.
Much like in New Orleans, though, a couple familiar faces await the Lakers, as Moe Wagner, Thomas Bryant and Isaac Bonga all are getting regular minutes in the rotation. This would likely explain the poor defense.
A couple things to really keep an eye on for the Lakers is how LeBron James’ and Anthony Davis’ bumps and bruises heal on their way back from New Orleans. Collisions with Josh Hart left both players heading to the sideline favoring a leg and an elbow respectively, so we’ll have to see how both those maladies hold up on the trip back home.
This goes without saying, but if either aren’t able to go, the Lakers’ winning streak would be very much in question. So here’s hoping they’re okay. Both did return to the floor after their injuries occurred, so as of right now, it looks like a fairly safe assumption both will be available Friday night.
We’ll keep you posted as updates come on both those injuries.
Also on the injury front is the update on Avery Bradley’s fractured leg. He was scheduled to be reevaluated after the Thanksgiving holiday, so hopefully we’ll get some good news on that front today.
Tip-off for the game is schedule for 7:30 p.m. PST in Staples Center, and it will be televised locally on Spectrum SportsNet.