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Preview: The Kobe Bryant years


Preview: The Kobe Bryant years

Matchup: Washington Wizards (7-8) vs  Los Angeles Lakers (2-15)

When: Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. (TV: CSN, CSNMidatlantic.com via NBC Sports Live Extra) 

When last we met: First game this season. Washington went 2-0 in last season's series.

Streaks: One win isn't really a streak, but Tuesday's 97-85 road victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers put an end to the unsightly four-game slide. John Wall's 35 points fueled the big win, as did a true small ball lineup. ...As for the Lakers, when the record is 2-15, then there is mostly losing going on. The current slide reached seven games when Los Angeles fell 103-91 Tuesday in Philadelphia as the 76ers won for the first time this season. Kobe Bryant had 20 points, but took 26 shots from the field including 17 3-point attempts. He missed 13 of them.

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What to watch/Kobe Bryant 

There will be a game played at Verizon Center, which means Wizards coach Randy Wittman will deploy strategy and implore his players not to overlook a Lakers team being outscored by 9.1 points per game. Sorry, Coach, but were going to do that here and instead focus on the reality that this will be the final game in Washington for Kobe Bryant, who last month announced he would retire following the 2015-16 season. The five-time NBA champion entered the league as a teenager in 1996, which means he's faced Washington plenty of times over the years. Wednesday marks the 31 game. Here's a quick look back at some highlights from the first 30.

Stats against Washington

* The basics: 25.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists. That works.

* The record: 20-10 vs Wizards

* Bryant's 40.3 3-point shooting percentage is his best against NBA team.

* Career-highs vs Wizards

Points - 55 (March 28, 2003)

Rebounds - 14 (February 28, 2004)

Assists - 15 (February 12, 2002)

Turnovers - 6 (3 different times, Most recent March 22, 2013)

Steals - 5  (March 16, 2001) 

First game against Washington

Feb. 2, 1997. Los Angeles didn't need much help from the rookie in the 129-99 romp, not with Shaquille O'Neal scoring 24 points. Coming off the bench, Bryant scored 13 points in 24 minutes. The most interesting parts of this box score come from the Bullets -- yes, the Bullets -- side. 

Washington's starting five: Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Gheorge Muresan, Calbert Cheaney and Rod Strickland. Coming off the bench, Harvey Grant and Ben Wallace. Now, nearly 19 years later, two of Grant's sons are in the NBA. One off the kids, Jerami, started for the 76ers Tuesday night against Bryant and the Lakers . Meanwhile two of Bryant's teammates that game are current NBA coaches: Derek Fisher with the Knicks and Lakers' coach Byron Scott.

First game in Washington

March 2, 1998. Though Bryant's side came out ahead more often than not when visiting these parts, not on this night. Behind Webber's near triple-double of 31 points, 10 rebounds and assists, the Wizards -- yes, the Wizards -- triumphed 96-86. That Washington squad had talent and the win ticked them just over .500 at 30-29 which means beating a 39-17 team qualified as an upset. Bryant only played 12 minutes, but clearly didn't help the cause, finishing with a game-worst minus-16 plus-minus rating.

While he didn't play in ever game, Los Angeles holds a 21-13 series lead with Bryant on the roster.

First triple-double against Washington

Feb. 12, 2002. Playing on his home court, Bryant finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 15 assists in Los Angeles' 103-94 win. Those 23 points were one more than Washington's high scorer. Some guy named Michael Jordan.

Bryant is the only active player with three triple-doubles against the Wizards in which he scored at least 20 points.

First time Kobe Kobe'd Washington

March 28, 2003. Now a three-time NBA champion, Bryant drops a double-nickel on Jordan and the Wizards. Almost half of his 55 points came from beyond the arc as Bryant sank 9 of 13 3-point attempts. Los Angeles won 108-94. They just wouldn't win the NBA title this season.

First time Kobe got Kobe'd 

Dec. 28, 2006. Bryant finished the 2006-07 season with a league-high 2,430 points. On this night in Los Angeles, he wasn't the top scorer even with 45 points. Not even close. That's because Bryant and the Lakers ran into peak Gilbert Arenas and Arenas took on the challenge with his Agent Zero zeal. Arenas scored 60 points in Washington's 147-141 overtime win. He made plenty of shots from all angles while wearing defenders and a path to the free throw line. "First of all, he shot 27 free throws. We as a team shot 30. Think about that," Bryant said, according to the Associated Press recap.

As for many of Arenas' 32 field goal attempts, Bryant noted, "Some of the shots he took tonight, you miss those, they're just terrible shots, just awful. You make them and they're unbelievable shots."

Almost sounds like past Kobe was talking about 2015 Kobe and I'll stop now because Kobe is one of the top 3-4 guards in NBA history and the Lakers are terrible and he should do what he wants. Most of all, this is the last ride. You did good, Mamba. Thanks for the memories.

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Kelly Oubre turns into 'Spooky Papi' ahead of home-opener vs. Heat

NBC Sports Washington

Kelly Oubre turns into 'Spooky Papi' ahead of home-opener vs. Heat

As the weather in Washington, D.C. drops below 60 degrees, most athletes typically arrive at their games in sweatsuits for comfort or suits for luxury. 

Kelly Oubre, on the other hand, is going full gothic for the Washington Wizards' home-opener against the Miami Heat. Oubre is the self-proclaimed "Wave Papi," but tonight he is giving off a vampire-slayer vibe.

Maybe he didn't get the memo that Halloween is roughly two weeks from now.

For the sake of it still being October, let's call him "Spooky Papi."

His black belts and buckles match his rockstar lifestyle, but the bloody, disfigured skull accessory is one of the most ridiculous things we've seen at Capital One Arena. Ever. 

Maybe there's a hidden meaning to it all, or maybe it's just yet another in a long line of Kelly Oubre fashion statements. 


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Dwight Howard ruled out for Wizards' season opener vs. Miami

NBC Sports Washington

Dwight Howard ruled out for Wizards' season opener vs. Miami

Dwight Howard will not play in the Washington Wizards' season opener against the Miami Heat, NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller has confirmed. The news was first reported by Chris Haynes.

Ian Mahinmi will start in his place as he did for a majority of the preseason. 

Howard, an eight-time All-Star, has been dealing with a butt-injury ever since joining Washington this summer. This resulted in him missing all of the team's preseason matchups. He only has practiced with the team for a couple of days this week

Earlier on Thursday morning, Howard was listed as questionable for this matchup.

Based on his absence during the preseason and limited work with the Wizards, Howard being out is not too surprising. If he would have played it likely would have been for limited minutes off of the bench. 

Best-case for the Wizards is to rest Howard who has only missed 20 regular season games in the previous three seasons. 

Howard is not that far off from starting his 15th season in the NBA. On Wednesday Scott Brooks said that Howard will travel on the first road trip with the team to the West Coast starting on Monday. 

This story is developing and will updated as more information becomes available.