At the end of a back-and-forth affair, the Wizards found themselves with a 5-point win, beating the Lakers, 116-111. John Wall found himself at the free throw line three times in the last minute and went 5-6 to help the Wizards on their way to the victory. Nene set a new career high with 30 points in the game, finding a lot of success against the Lakers tandem of Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill. The Wizards also set a season-high in steals with 15, thanks in large part to noted thief Trevor Ariza's return to the lineup. John Wall scored a team high 31 points, and spread the ball around nicely, dishing 9 assists. With Beal out, Webster picked up the three-point shooting slack, going 50% from 3 point land for 20 points and added 9 rebounds and 3 steals. Gortat added 15 points and Ariza had 13 as all five Wizards starters finished in double figures. - Brad Bobrow
The Wizards played a solid half of basketball against the Lakers, without their leading scorer Bradley Beal. Nene has stepped up in a true veteran fashion, scoring a team high 19 points. The chemistry between Wall and Nene has been fantastic tonight, including one dish in transition that led to a
monstrous Nene two-handed slam
. Trevor Ariza is back in the lineup from a hamstring injury and has played well, adding 7 points and 3 assists. John Wall continues to play well, adding 12 points and 4 assists, including a couple of jaw-dropping crossovers to make his way to the basket.
Perhaps the biggest highlight of the first half came midway through the second quarter, when John Wall stole the ball and went on an untouched fast break for a
. Needless to say, Verizon Center exploded for the acrobatics of last week’s Eastern Conference player of the week.
The first half was neck and neck, rarely stretching past a one or two possession game, except for the last minute of the first half when the Wizards stretched their lead to seven. Gortat and Nene have done a good job against the Lakers front-court, holding Pau Gasol to 8 points and Jordan Hill to 6 points. One of the keys to the second half will be taming the Lakers three point game, as they are shooting 8-13 from beyond the arc. The Wizards are shooting 56.1% from the field, but have only made 1 out of 7 attempts from beyond the arc.- Brad Bobrow
Welcome to #WizLakers!
The last 30 hours or so have been a bit of a whirlwind.
First, we get the news that
Otto Porter, Chris Singleton, and Trevor Ariza return to practice
. Then John Wall
wins the player of the week award
. Then the news comes out today that
Bradley Beal will be out for at least two weeks
with a stress injury in his right fibula.
So that brings us to tonight and tonight's opponent' the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers enter today having won three in a row and have evened their record to 7-7 on the season. They've done so without the face of their franchise, Kobe Bryant, as he is still recovering from an Achilles injury which he suffered during the playoffs of last year.
With Bryant out, they've won with a variety of different guys chipping in and the highest scoring bench in the league (46.7 ppg). Pau Gasol is their leading scorer at 14.3 ppg, but they have ten players averaging between 6.7 and 14.3 ppg.
Xavier Henry is a guy who came out of college with a lot of praise (12th overall in 2010), but hasn't amounted to much in the NBA until this season. He’s averaging a career-high 8.7 ppg off the Lakers bench and is one of their most athletic guards.
They have also gotten solid play from both Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar at the point guard spot, as the veteran Steve Nash has been dealing with a back injury and has been limited to just six games.
These are not the "Showtime" Lakers or the Kobe-Shaq Lakers, but this a team that is very capable of winning games and would love to start their east coast trip off with a win.
For the Wizards
The big question begins with how does the team make up for the loss of their leading scorer, Bradley Beal.
During his pregame availability, Randy Wittman said it will take a team effort during this stretch without him, because nobody on their own can make up for Beal. The good news however is that Trevor Ariza will return tonight from a hamstring injury and be right back in the starting lineup. He'll take Beal's spot, which means Martell Webster will remain in the starting lineup with John Wall, Nene, and Marcin Gortat.
This starting five still should produce without Beal, but the question becomes who will give the Wizards the punch they need off the bench. The rotation should remain somewhat the same as the Wiz will just take out Beal and swap in Ariza in his spot.
Chris Singleton, who just returned to practice for the first time yesterday, could be available in a limited role tonight. Wittman said the situation of the game would likely dictate that and he probably wouldn't play a lot of minutes. But having him available is a bonus.
As for Otto Porter, he has been medically cleared to play, but the team wants to get him back into game shape before he steps out onto the floor, so he'll probably take a little bit longer.
gets going at 7pm. We'll see you there.