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...
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.
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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.
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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.