Lakers take on slumping Washington Wizards at home

The Lakers, coming off a win against the Nuggets, will go against a team that is on a massive losing streak.

It wasn’t too long ago when the Lakers faced the Wizards. Two weeks ago, Anthony Davis ran over the Wizards to the tune of 55 points. He probably wouldn’t have scored that much if the Lakers actually didn’t let the Wizards rally back from a 29-point lead but either way, the Lakers came away with the W and that’s what ultimately matters.

That was two weeks ago.

We just learned that Anthony Davis, who arguably was having the best stretch of his career, will be out for a minimum of a month. It’s a big blow to a Lakers team that is extremely dependent on their two stars. LeBron James, who is in his 20th season and turning 38 years old in 12 days, will be asked to lead a team again. He has scored 30 points or more in the last three games and he might have to do it again on Sunday against the Wizards.

Thomas Bryant will likely be asked to start for Davis. He’s scored in double figures every time he’s played 19 or more minutes this season (that seems oddly specific, I know), including a season-high 21 points against Denver.

The Lakers could use more of that play against Denver. Russell Westbrook had another triple-double. Dennis Schröder was fearless on both ends. Patrick Beverley actually was proactive offensively. And Austin Reaves continued to provide spurts where he’s looked nearly unstoppable. Lonnie Walker IV didn’t shoot well against Denver but we know he’s come through more often than not. Even Max Christie looked very good in his stint on Friday.

We’ll see if they can sustain this kind of ball against the Wizards, who haven’t sustained anything good since they faced the Lakers 14 days ago. There’s nothing but bad vibes surrounding the team in D.C. Bradley Beal has not been back since he suffered a hamstring injury early in their first match-up against the Lakers (he is, however, listed as questionable as of this writing). The Wiz have also been 0-6 since their loss to the Lakers, totaling their overall losing skid to 9 games. And they just played against the Clippers on Saturday so they’ll have a bit of fatigue going into this game.

Kristaps Porzingis will have to carry the team here. Ex-Laker (maybe future Laker?) Kyle Kuzma was big in the late rally against L.A. two weeks ago. Daniel Gafford was near-perfect from the field then and Corey Kispert was sharp from three. But they need all the help they can get as they try to stop their freefall in the standings. Anthony Davis not being there will obviously help them. They’d better hope that the Lakers come out lazy at the start, which was a bit of a theme for them before the Denver game.

The Lakers won’t have Anthony Davis for the next few weeks and they’d better adjust to it quickly. And someone will really have to step up to be the secondary option; the Lakers really shouldn’t ask LeBron James to carry this team, even if he’s an exception to the rule. Yes, the Lakers do have Russell Westbrook and he’s played better more often than not this season. At the very least, he can carry (and has carried) the load in the middle of the game (his crunchtime decisions haven’t been exactly the best this season).

So it’s the Lakers and the Wizards for the second and final time this season. Lakers are 2-4 in their last 6 games and they hope to continue digging out of the hole. The Wizards just want to win a game (probably). And if I were the Lakers, I’d put this away early because they have another game (a tough one, I might add) the very next night on the road. We’ll see what the week before Christmas brings.

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