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Lakers vs. Wizards Preview: Will Washington out-tank L.A.?

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The Lakers will have an opportunity to improve their NBA Draft Lottery odds with a loss to the Wizards.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Washington Wizards Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers will host the Washington Wizards at Staples Center on Tuesday, where they’ll have the perfect chance to improve their odds at the NBA Draft Lottery.

Just 2.5 games separate the 23rd-ranked Wizards and 21st-ranked Lakers in the standings. A loss to Washington on Tuesday would shrink that gap, giving L.A. a better chance to slide a few spots down in the standings.

A Wizards win would also guarantee that Washington ends the season with at least 31 wins. With the Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks on their remaining schedule, they could feasibly end the season with more wins than the Lakers, who have the fifth-hardest remaining schedule, according to Tankathon. These are all good things.

What’s that? You say you’re not a fan of tanking? Don’t worry! The Lakers are so banged up that they don’t have to actively try to lose, they just will.

Josh Hart (knee) has been ruled out for the second consecutive game and there’s a possibility that he has played his last game of the season. Meanwhile, Reggie Bullock (foot) and Mike Muscala (ankle) are questionable after sitting out of Sunday’s game. LeBron James will play after previously being listed on the injury report as probable.

Could James singlehandedly will the Lakers to a win over Washington on Tuesday? Probably, but with playoffs already mathematically out of the question, there’s really no reason for him to do that beyond pleasing the fans that paid money to see him. With no offense to those people, there are bigger things at stake here.

With any luck, Bradley Beal will come out of the locker room looking for a win and put the game away early, sending James to the bench for some much-needed rest.

Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. PST.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Christian on Twitter at @RadRivas.