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

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

John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards host D'Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram and the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night as they aim to continue rising the ranks of the NBA's Eastern Conference.

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: Verizon Center
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: CSN (coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.)
Live stream: CSNmidatlantic.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Possible shootout

As is the case with most young teams, the Lakers have a lot of trouble on the defensive end of the floor. They are dead-last in defensive rating (112.7) and opponents' field goal percentage (47.7), 27th in points allowed per game (110.2) and 28th in both steals (8.6) and blocks (5.4).

Part of their issues can be rooted in inexperience, and having Nick Young in their rotation certainly doesn't help. But it's also a product of their style of play. The Lakers love to push the ball with the eighth-best pace factor (97.8 possessions per 48 min.). They take a lot of shots (86.6/g, 3rd most in NBA) and give up almost as many (86.3/g, 3rd-most in NBA). The result has been a lot more points for the opposing team so far, but sometimes they can get hot and be a dangerous team to guard.

The Wizards, of course, can score a lot of points themselves. They are 10th in the NBA in points per game (106.9) and in January were seventh in basketball at 109.4 points per contest.

Their ability to score is even more pronounced at home, where they scored 112.3 points per game in January. The Wizards have won 15 straight at the Verizon Center, tied for the second-longest home winning streak in franchise history with the 1988-89 Bullets.

[RELATED: Wizards may stand pat at NBA trade deadline]

Youth movement

The Lakers haven't been able to put it all together yet under head coach Luke Walton, but their roster is rife with potential superstars taken with high lottery picks. Included in that mix are each of the last two No. 2 overall picks: D'Angelo Russell (2015) and Brandon Ingram (2016).

Russell has improved in his second season and is averaging 14.5 points and 4.6 assists per game, but shoots an ugly 39.6 percent from the field. Ingram is still struggling to find consistency as a rookie, with 7.9 points per game on an even worse 35.6 percent shooting.

Randle may be out

The Lakers may be missing one of their best young players as forward Julius Randle is listed as questionable due to his bout with pneumonia. Randle has missed the last two games and could miss another on Thursday night.

If Randle can't go, that will make the Lakers thin down low. Randle is averaging a modest 13 points this season, but leads the team in rebounds with 8.4 per game. He's also a solid passer from the post with 3.8 assists per game, second-most on the team. Randle's well-rounded game has allowed him to post 10 double-doubles and two triple-doubles this season.

[RELATED: Confident John Wall says Wizards can make Eastern Conference Finals]

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Current, former NBA players to Zion Williamson after knee injury: Sit out until the NBA draft

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USA Today Sports Images

Current, former NBA players to Zion Williamson after knee injury: Sit out until the NBA draft

Duke's freshman forward Zion Williamson is the biggest name in college basketball. So big, that if you just say 'Zion' people automatically know who you are talking about.

When the 18-year-old phenom slipped and tore through his Nike sneaker Wednesday night against North Carolina resulting in him suffering what coach Mike Krzyzewski called a "mild right knee sprain," questions about protecting his future arose.

Expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, seeing Williamson go down and unable to return now has current and former NBA players calling for him to sit out the remainder of the season to protect his stock.

Duke felt the loss of Williamson as the Tar Heels went on to win 88-72. How much time Williamson will miss will become clearer Thursday, but is sitting out the season something he should, and will, consider?

Earlier this month, Williamson told Sports Hub Triad‘s Josh Graham that he didn't commit to Duke just to sit on the sideline.

“I just can’t stop playing," Williamson said. "I’d be letting my teammates down. I’d be letting Coach K down. I’d be letting a lot of people down. If I wanted to sit out, I wouldn’t have went to college. I came to Duke to play.”

Heading into Wednesday's rivalry, the freshman was averaging 21.6 points-per-game, 8.8 total rebounds and a 68.3 field goal percentage. Ranked No. 1 in college basketball, a national championship appearance with him at the forefront is likely. 

Williamson does have a $8 million loss of value insurance policy that Duke paid for should he be selected 16th or later in the NBA draft, according to The Action Network's Darren Rovell. Injury or not, it's unlikely he would even drop that far. 

Former NBA star Scottie Pippen suggested Williamson shut it down for this very reason back in January.

"I think he's done enough for basketball, college basketball, that it's more about him personally now," Pippen said on ESPN's The Jump. "I think for him as a young player that I would shut it down. I would stop playing because I feel that he could risk a major injury that could really hurt his career." 

The extent and significance of his injury will become clearer over the next few weeks, but don't expect this debate to be settled any time soon.

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Barack Obama had front row seat to Zion Williamson injury: 'His show broke'

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Barack Obama had front row seat to Zion Williamson injury: 'His show broke'

Former President Barack Obama is just like us.

While attending Wednesday night's North Carolina vs. Duke game, Obama had a front-row seat to Zion Williamson's wild shoe-breaking move. He was just as shocked as the rest of us.

Just 36 seconds into one of the greatest rivalries in college basketball, Williamson was making a move towards the basket when his left foot slipped. Trying to find enough balance to counter his collapsing leg, the 6-foot-7, 285 pound player took to his right leg causing his sneaker to completely tear apart. Zion, who is a big enough superstar that he can be recognized just by his first name, then left the game and did not return with what Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski described as a "mild right knee sprain." 

Zion's rookie season has been headlined by his monster-like ability, but tearing a Nike shoe apart is something not even the 44th President of the United States has seen before.

After the game, Obama tweeted his well wishes to the 18-year-old. 

Duke felt the loss of Zion as the Tar Heels went on to win 88-72. How much time the predicted No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft will miss will become clearer Thursday. Duke heads up to No. 7 Syracuse Saturday.

"When you lose the leading candidate for national player of the year, you have a lot of adjusting to do," Coach K said after the game. 

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