Game Preview: Wizards vs. Lakers


December 14, 2012 | 7:00 pm | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM | Gameday Blog | Game Notes | Live Chat

Preview

The Wizards return home for a battle with the struggling Los Angeles Lakers at Verizon Center (7:00 pm | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM).

The Lakers have lost four in a row and are coming off a 116-107 defeat in New York last night. They are a team struggling to find their identity and especially struggling on the defensive end.

After adding Dwight Howard and Steve Nash in the off-season, expectations were even higher for a team that is always one of the favorites to win a title. But, a 9-14 start is not what the Lakers had planned to open their season. However, this is still a very dangerous team and anytime Kobe Bryant, the NBA's leading scorer (29.3 ppg), takes the floor there is reason to be concerned.

The Wizards have started to play better basketball over the past two weeks and like last year will look to take down the L.A. Lakers in front of a packed Verizon Center on Friday night. Jordan Crawford has shifted into the point guard and has transformed his game from a scorer into a playmaker in his new role. Look for Crawford to have a big night against the Lakers tonight.

The action kicks off at 7pm.

Wizards (3-16)

vs.

Lakers (9-14)

90.4
PPG
101.7
42.7
RPG
46.2
20.3
APG
20.3
.407
FG%
.453
.443
OPP FG%
.465
.311
3PT FG%
.377
.749
FT%
.683
15.1
TO
16.4
3-7
Last 10
3-7

Key Matchup

Emeka Okafor

vs.

Dwight Howard

7.3
PPG
18.5
5.4
RPG
11.9
1.4
BPG
2.5
.463
FG %
.583

Emeka Okafor broke out for 19 points and six boards in Wednesday night's game in Houston and showed his aggressiveness on the offensive end. The 12 shot attempts were the second most he's taken this season and this may be a game that sparks Okafor as the season moves on. But tonight, the Wizards will be more concerned with Okafor on the defensive end as he goes up against one of the league's top centers, Dwight Howard.

Dwight Howard is putting up adequate numbers, but he is still not completely adapted to the new system that is in place in Los Angeles. The Lakers have gone through three head coaches through the first 23 games and Howard is still trying to learn how he will fit in to the new Mike D'antoni offense. It appears that this is affecting his defense as well, as the Lakers have struggled defending the paint, which is something Howard has had no problem with throughout his career.

It will be intriguing to see if the Wizards can exploit the middle against a team struggling inside, and if they can there is no reason the Wizards can't come out victorious.

In the below clip, Okafor scores on the put-back.

In this clip, Emeka Okafor talks to the media after Wednesday night's game in Houston.

Lakers Projected Starters


G - Chris Duhon | 6-1 | 190 lbs
PPG: 4.2 | RPG: 2.2 | APG: 3.8


G- Kobe Bryant | 6-6 | 208 lbs
PPG: 29.3 | RPG: 5.2 | APG: 4.8


F- Metta World Peace | 6-7 | 260 lbs
PPG: 13.1 | RPG: 5.3 | APG: 1.7


F- Antawn Jamison | 6-9 | 235 lbs
PPG: 7.8 | RPG: 4.7 | APG: 0.8


C- Dwight Howard | 6-11 | 265 lbs
PPG: 18.5 | RPG: 11.9 | APG: 1.9

Wizards Projected Starters


G - Jordan Crawford | 6-4 | 195 lbs
PPG: 14.9 | RPG: 3.8 | APG: 4.0


G- Bradley Beal | 6-5 | 207 lbs
PPG: 12.3 | RPG: 3.6 | APG: 2.4


F- Martell Webster | 6-7 | 230 lbs
PPG: 8.7 | RPG: 3.6 | APG: 1.2


F- Chris Singleton | 6-9 | 225 lbs
PPG: 5.2 | RPG: 4.0 | APG: 0.7


C- Emeka Okafor | 6-10 | 250 lbs
PPG: 7.3| RPG: 5.4 | APG: 0.9

Wizards Injury Report

Out

  • John Wall (knee)
  • Trevor Booker (knee)
  • Trevor Ariza (calf)
  • A.J. Price (hand)

Lakers Injury
Report

Out

  • Steve Blake (abdominal surgery)
  • Pau Gasol (knee)
  • Steve Nash (leg)