Pre-Game Report: Lakers vs. Wizards

Wizards Projected Starting Line-up

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) dunks the ball on a fast break in the 1st half against the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center in Washington on December 5, 2008. (UPI Photo/ Mark Goldman) Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom


PG: John Wall
SG: Gilbert Arenas
SF: Al Thornton
PF: Andray Blatche
C: JaVale McGee

Key Reserves: Kirk Hinrich, Yi Jianlian, Nick Young

One week after a home win against the Wizards, the Lakers visit D.C. for round two. As an added bonus the Lakers were hosted by President Obama at the White house yesterday.

Frontcourt: The Wizard frontcourt has been shaken up lately. Blatche recently returned to the starting line-up after injury. McGee’s sub-par play earned him a spot on the bench in deference to rookie Seraphin’s start at center. I suppose Coach Saunders enacted the roster switch in order to send McGee a message: step your game up. Yi hasn’t done much since his return and the Wizards roster looks very thin up front.

Backcourt: Since Arenas has stepped into the starting line-up he’s been putting up 17.3 shots per game compared to Wall’s 14. Furthermore, Arenas has turned the ball over four times per contest compared to Wall’s average of one. The Wizards are 0-3 during that spurt. Coach Saunders has said Wall’s status is questionable for tonight due to knee soreness. If Wall is out, Arenas will likely hijack run the offense. Hinrich is a reliable guard and will fill in Wall’s vacancy. Thornton has regained his starting position at the small forward and has resumed chucking shots like there’s no tomorrow. Nick Young has proven that he can put up points in a hurry. He burned the Lakers for 30 in their last meeting.

Keys to Laker Victory:
Sound the trumpets and strike up the band because Bynum is expected to play his first minutes of the 2010-11 season tonight. Phil will probably limit Bynum’s minutes initially and bring him back slowly. Nevertheless, Bynum’s return will be a huge relief for Gasol who has clearly been overused and has seen excessive playing time.

Expect the Lakers to have little trouble on the offensive end (they put up 115 in their recent win against the Wizards); however, lackadaisical defense has accounted for more than a few loses. Third quarters have been a bane of the Lakers’ season thus far. In the month of December the Lakers have been outscored by their opponents 151 to 137 in the third quarter. The team shouldn’t rely on Kobe to rescue them from defeat in the fourth. Hopefully the Lakers will come out pumped to play and not overlook a sub-par opponent like the Wizards.

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