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...
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]
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.