Los Angeles Lakers (23-15) at Washington Wizards (8-29)
4:00 PM PST, March 7, 2012
Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.I
TV: KCAL, NBA LP
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)
Wizards Projected Starting Line-up
PG: John Wall
SG: Jordan Crawford
SF: Chris Singleton
PF: Trevor Booker
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: GF Nick Young, PF Jan Vesely, PF Andray Blatche
After a tough loss to the Detroit Pistons, the Lakers head to our nation’s capital to take on John Wall and the Wizards. Kobe and company will likely hear plenty of cheers in the opposing-team-friendly Verizon Center. The Wizards are one of the league’s worst teams, and the Lakers really shouldn’t have any trouble coming away with a win.
Frontcourt: JaVale McGee is a physical freak who has great potential. He’s decent on the defensive end with 2.6 blocks per game, but on offense he’s very raw and looks completely lost. Booker has a more refined offensive game than McGee and he supplies most of the scoring in the frontcourt. His mid-range jumper is on point from 15 feet and he is disruptive on the defensive end with 1.1 steals and 1 block per game. Off the bench, rookie Jan Vesely is a crowd favorite because he works hard every possession. On the other hand, the other power forward off the bench, Andray Blatche, is booed consistently by his own fans because of his perceived laziness and lack of effort.
Backcourt: Former first round draft pick, John Wall, is undoubtedly the best player on the Wizards. In fact, he may be the only NBA-starting-worthy player on the entire roster. Wall is a scoring point guard who prefers to dunk over passing. However, he does distribute the ball well when he’s in a sharing mood. For the year, he’s averaging 17.6 points, 7.8 assists and five boards. He has improved his spot up jumper and can use his speed to drive past defenders en route to the hoop. Crawford is a pure scorer and Singleton doesn’t belong in an NBA starting line-up. Off the bench, Nick Young is best known for dribbling out the clock into shooting an off balance jumper. Sometimes his shot is falling, other nights he’s off – he’s a streaky shooter who is in love with his own jump shot.
Keys to Lakers’ Victory:
Andrew Bynum – Amidst the trade rumors and distractions, Bynum is having a superb season. However the Lakers aren’t getting him enough shot attempts. He had his most shot attempts (18) in last night’s game against Detroit, and the Lakers lost because they didn’t feed him enough. He converted 13 of his 18 shots, and if he had taken 26 shots instead of Kobe Bryant, he would’ve probably had 40-plus points and the Lakers would’ve won handily. I’d like to see Kobe feed Bynum more in the post and let him go to work because not many players in this league are capable of stopping the 290-pound seven footer.
Contain the Streaky Shooters – Outside of a limited John Wall, the Lakers really need to remained focused on the Wizard’s streaky shooters. Crawford and Young can get hot and shoot their team back into the game. As long as the Lakers play honest defense and don’t allow Crawford and Young to get good looks, then the Wizard’s offense will be limited to John Wall.