Wizards

Quick Links

Wizards vs. Lakers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

ap_17088187055121.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Wizards vs. Lakers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle the Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. LOS ANGELES LAKERS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Defense needed

The Wizards enter Thursday night aiming to correct some issues on the defensive end. They have lost three straight home games and five of their last seven games overall. That included a disappointing defeat to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night. Dallas came into the matchup with the NBA's worst record, yet jumped out to a scorching start on offense with 36 points in the first quarter and 64 in the first half.

The Mavs were the third bad team in three weeks to sneak up on the Wizards. The Lakers were the first, they beat Washington in overtime last month. Thursday night offers the Wizards a chance to make some corrections and get back on track against a team they want revenge against.

[RELATED: WAIT...WHAT'S 'WOLF SEASON?']

More Jason Smith?

Twice the last 36 hours head coach Scott Brooks has said that he has "to find more minutes" for Jason Smith. The big man didn't play in two straight games before coming off the bench late in their loss to the Mavericks. Smith provided a spark with a dunk and two blocks.

The Wizards have had major issues protecting the rim and right now Smith is someone who could help that cause. Plus, Brooks has said he feels more comfortable playing Smith at the center position despite him traditionally being a power forward. With the league going smaller at the big man spot, Smith has the size to play center and can stretch the floor with his three-point shot.

[RELATED: HOW MAHINMI LOST WEIGHT, WHY HE LOVES D.C.]

Lakers play fast

With Lonzo Ball running point guard, the Lakers have managed to become one of the fastest teams in basketball. They rank second in pace factor. Fast teams are generally associated with offense, yet the Lakers are 28th in offensive rating. They have been much better on defense with the fifth-best defensive rating in the game. In the first meeting between these teams, the Wizards were held to 99 points including one overtime period.

L.A. is very young and very athletic. Ball isn't scoring much (8.8 ppg) but is averaging 6.8 assists and 6.3 rebounds per game. Fellow rookie Kyle Kuzma has been a standout so far with 14.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. And Brandon Ingram is starting to reach his potential with 15.5 points per game on 47.1 percent shooting. The Lakers have trotted out to a 5-6 record and are not an easy out anymore.

[RELATED: KELLY OUBRE CAN SEE WHY DURANT MADE A FAKE TWITTER ACCOUNT]

Quick Links

Wizards hope this time will be different in Game 5 on road

Wizards hope this time will be different in Game 5 on road

The Wizards were in a very similar spot and less than one year ago. After dropping the first two games on the road against the Celtics in the second round of the 2017 playoffs, the Wizards held serve to lock up the series at 2-2. They then lost in Boston in Game 5 and ultimately dropped the series.

This year the Wizards find themselves at 2-2 against the Raptors, this time in the first round. Again, they are on the road for Game 5, knowing it will be pivotal and could determine the series.

This time, they hope for a much different result.

"It's super important," forward Markieff Morris said. "Ideally, what we're looking for us to come back [to D.C.] up 3-2 with a chance to close it out on our home floor."

The Wizards value continuity more than most teams in the NBA. According to Basketball Reference's roster continuity chart, they are the only team in the NBA to retain 75 percent of their roster year-over-year in each of the past three seasons.

The Wizards have kept 82 percent of their roster from the 2016-17 season. Only three teams have held onto more players: the Spurs, Blazers and, ironically, the Raptors.

Continuity can have its pitfalls. It can breed complacency and, for certain personality-types, discord. Things can very easily go stale.

But in this case, the fact these players have been in this same scenario before and know very well how important Game 5 is could work to the Wizards' advantage.

"I definitely will bring it up. I won't dwell on it. Just bring it up. We have to do better," head coach Scott Brooks said. "Hopefully those experiences will pay for us and give us that toughness that we don't want to be on the losing side of it again."

If the Wizards didn't already know the importance of Game 5, they could look at the historical odds. Teams that win Game 5 in a seven-game series tied at 2-2 go on to win the series 82.8 percent of the time with a 164-34 all-time record. Teams that lead a seven-game series 3-2 go on to win the series 84.8 percent (251-45) of the time.

The Wizards could also look at the home/road numbers. When series are tied at 2-2, the home team has a 22-13 record in Game 5 since 2003 and a series record of 26-9.

The Raptors not only won the first two games of this series at home, but they tied the Rockets for the best home record in the NBA this season at 34-7. One of those defeats were to the Wizards.

Washington, however, has to get over a hump on the road in the playoffs. Though they have won eight consecutive home postseason games, they have lost six straight on the road. The last one they won was in Atlanta in Game 6 of the first round last year. They did not win on the road against the Celtics in the second round and as a result lost the series.

Morris and Brooks offered keys to breaking that streak.

"On the road, you've gotta really lock in," Morris said. "I was telling the guys yesterday that when you're up 20 it's only really 10 when you're on the road because they have the crowd to give them momentum in the game."

"We have to have a better start. We have to bring that edge on the road," Brooks said. "We haven't seemed to get into an offensive rhythm there. I thought the second game actually helped. We were down by 23 or so and then really started moving the ball and attacking their feet. Even though we didn't win the game, it gave us some confidence."

Brooks was referring to Game 2 wheN the Wizards outscored the Raptors 61-54 in the second half. They held Toronto to just two threes during that stretch, including zero in the third quarter.

That may have been a breakthrough. Now they have to do it for 48 minutes.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

WHAT WALL IS DOING SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED

WALL IS BOYCOTTING DRAKE'S MUSIC DURING SERIES

PREVIEW: WIZARDS-RAPTORS GAME 5

Quick Links

2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 5: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

2018 NBA Playoffs Wizards-Raptors Game 5: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka and the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night in Game 5 of the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

GAME 5: WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT TORONTO RAPTORS

Series: Series tied 2-2
Where: Air Canada Centre
Tip-off: 7:02 p.m. (earlier tipoff than usual)
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Pivotal game

The Wizards have done their part in winning both games at home to even up this series at 2-2. Now comes Game 5, which could very well determine who takes this series.

Winners of Game 5 in a seven-game series tied at 2-2 hold a 164-34 (.828) record all-time. That means teams that lose Game 5 come back to win the final two games and the series only 17.2 percent of the time.

The Wizards need to get this one and they know all too well why. Last year they were in this same position in their second round series against the Boston Celtics. They went down 0-2, won the next two games but then lost Game 5 and ultimately the series in seven games.

Road warriors

The Wizards will also have to do something they have yet to do in a while in Game 5 and that is win on the road. Though they have won eight straight home postseason games, they have lost their last six on the road. It goes back to that Celtics series when Washington lost all four games in Boston. The last time they won on the road in the playoffs was Game 6 last year against the Hawks.

The Raptors are particularly tough in Toronto. They were 34-7 this season at home, tied with the Houston Rockets for the best record in the NBA. 

The recent historical odds are also in Toronto's favor. Since 2003, the home team has won each of the first four games in a seven-game series 35 times. In those series, the home team has held a Game 5 record of 22-13 and a series record of 26-9. If the Raptors get Game 5, history will be on their side to go on to win the series.

Can Otto get going?

Games 3 and 4 in Washington saw All-Star Bradley Beal break out to score 28 and 31 points. Will we see the same from Otto Porter before this series is over?

Game 4 seemed to suggest that is possible. After scoring only one point in the first half, Porter erupted for 10 points in the third quarter alone. Though he only scored 12 points in the game overall, it was the most aggressive we have seen him all series.

Porter is averaging just 10.3 points per game through four playoff games. He is shooting 50 percent from the field and 55.6 percent from three, and as long as the Wizards are winning he won't complain, but Porter can do much more than that on offense. If he starts scoring more, the Wizards will be tough to stop.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

WALL HAS REACHED PEAK FORM AMAZINGLY QUICK

WALL IS BOYCOTTING DRAKE'S MUSIC DURING SERIES

OUBRE IS HELPING THE WIZARDS WIN IN MANY WAYS

For more on the Wizards-Raptors series, check out or latest Wizards Tipoff podcast: