Lakers welcome streaking Wizards to town

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket against the Washington Wizards on July 27, 2020 in Orlando, Florida at Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Image taken by Garrett Ellwood

The Los Angeles Lakers will look to end their two-game losing streak tonight, with the Washington Wizards coming into Staples Center. Although the Lakers are 22-9 and the Wizards are 10-17, the two teams have had polar opposite experiences lately with the Lakers losing three of their last four (Timberwolves being the lone win) while the Wizards are on a four-game winning streak. All-Star starter Bradley Beal is still playing out of his mind this season (32.7 points per game) but the team has been taken to another level lately through Russell Westbrook who has three straight games with a triple-double including an insane 27 points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds against the Trail Blazers on Saturday. The Lakers may experience some trouble against these two amazing guards as they’ve been struggling with their perimeter defense overall. Just on Saturday, they gave up 27 points to Kendrick Nunn, while the Brooklyn Nets made 18 threes against the Lakers on Thursday.

Here’s the rest of our preview for the night.

Injury news

The Lakers will again be without both Anthony Davis and Dennis Schröder. Davis will reportedly remain out until after the All-Star break while Schröder can return as early as Friday’s game against the Trail Blazers. The rest of the Lakers’ injury report is below, with no additional players expected to miss the game.

The Wizards’ injury report can be seen here. Our former, beautiful, South Bay Laker boy will be out, as Thomas Bryant suffered a torn ACL earlier in the season. Ish Smith will also be out. The only other possible surprise may be Russell Westbrook, as he has historically only played one game out of a back-to-back during this season. The Wizards will be playing the Clippers tomorrow night. However, looking at the schedule, Westbrook has always taken the second night of those back-to-backs off instead of the first night.

I’d cautiously expect him to play. Speaking of being cautious…

Betting central

Lakers -7; Over/under 226; Lakers moneyline -275 (Wizards moneyline +225)

I went 1-2 in the Heat game, as I foolishly picked the Lakers’ moneyline instead of continuing to ride the other team. I’m now 9-16-2 on the season.

I’m a little surprised about the Lakers’ large spread, especially considering the fact that both of these teams are going in opposite ways lately in terms of wins. Mix in the fact that the Lakers have been mostly struggling with their perimeter defense with a matchup against Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook on the horizon and…I’m less than confident. I’m assuming they’re not expecting Westbrook to miss the game in Vegas, so I’ll go with Wizards +7 if he’s playing. If he’s not playing, I’d definitely take Lakers -7, but probably wouldn’t take it higher than -9.5 if the line moved.

Give me the under on 226 as well, since the Lakers can’t score lately and the Wizards have hit the under in nine of their 13 games on the road (as well as seven of their last 10 total games).

I’ll again tempt the basketball gods with another possible “push” if he doesn’t play, as I’ll take the over on 9.5 assists for Russell Westbrook in this one. He’s eclipsed that number in all of his past five games, notching assist totals of 15, 12, and 13 in his last three. Don’t fight the trend. Take the over.

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook around 9:00 a.m. PST.

Where to watch

The Lakers will be BACK on Spectrum SportsNet tonight, but they’ll also be nationally televised on NBA TV. Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m. PST.

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