The Los Angeles Lakers need a win about as bad as any team in the NBA.
L.A. picked up its sixth loss in seven games Thursday night, as they fell to the New York Knicks. They had no answer for Carmelo Anthony, who scored 30 points in just 23 minutes.
Even thought they will be playing the second game of a back-to-back, the Lakers might have even bigger problems if they can’t win on Friday. Los Angeles is set to visit the worst team in the league.
The 3-16 Washington Wizards will host the 9-14 Lakes at 7 p.m. ET. You can watch a live stream online by purchasing NBA League Pass Broadband.
It took the Wizards almost a month to get their first win. They defeated the Portland Trail Blazers on Nov.28 after 12 straight losses.
Washington has proven that they have the ability to beat the better teams in the NBA. One of their three wins came against the Miami Heat. The beat the defending champs, despite a triple-double from LeBron James.
Through 23 games, the Lakers certainly can’t be viewed as one of the better teams in the league. No matter what expectations were before the season started, they have proven that they, currently, are not among the elite teams.
With both Pau Gasol and Steve Nash out of the lineup with injuries, the Lakers haven’t played like a playoff contender. The Knicks were able to score at will against L.A., even with Anthony on the bench. Dwight Howard hasn’t been a defensive force in the middle, as the Lakers have allowed at least 100 points in their last four games.
If there is any team that will have trouble scoring against the Lakers, it’s the Wizards. Having played the entire year without an injured John Wall, Washington has the worst offense in the league. They’re scoring just 90.4 points per game. Three times this year they’ve scored less than 80 points.
Kobe Bryant scored 31 points in the Lakers loss. That makes 11 times this year that the veteran has scored at least 30 points in a loss.
Betting Line: Los Angeles-6,200
Prediction: The Lakers have looked old and slow in recent games, which doesn’t bode well for them against a young Wizards teams. Bradley Beal and Jordan Crawford combined to score 37 points in their last game, and have helped Washington play respectable basketball after picking up their first win. Still, the Lakers should be able to steal a road win against a team with lesser talent.
Predicted Score: Los Angeles 98, Washington 92