The Lakers have managed to win two games in a row, but now they run into John Wall and the Wizards on the back end of a back-to-back set. Who should we side with when placing our NBA picks?
The Wizards have been playing great basketball this season and now they get a crack at the Lakers. As you'd expect, Washington is favored by nine points at a lot of the top NBA betting sites, and we wouldn't be shocked to see that number rise even further.
We're going to see a lot of offense tonight, and that's reflected in a high total of 208.5. We know LA plays little to no defense on a nightly basis, but Washington has actually been performing well defensively - it looks like oddsmakers think the Wizards are going to be playing "up in pace" this evening.
Off to a nice 11-5 start, the Wizards are in first place in the Southeast Division, one game up on Atlanta and 2.5 games ahead of Miami right now.
They've won two straight games heading into tonight, with their latest coming on Sunday against the Heat. They overwhelmed Dwyane Wade and company on their way to a 107-86 victory. Washington shot 54.2 percent overall and was an impressive 10-of-19 (52.6 percent) from beyond the arc.
John Wall was at his best again, scoring 18 points to go with 13 assists and five rebounds in 32 minutes of play. Marcin Gortat had a 15/10 double-double, and Rasual Butler got hot off the bench, pouring in 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting.
Overall this season, the Wizards have been ho-hum offensively, ranking 19th in the NBA by averaging 98.2 points per game. Their success has come from their focus on the other end of the floor, as Washington has locked things down. They're holding opponents to an average of 96.0 points per game, the fifth-lowest mark in the league.
Los Angeles Lakers
Don't look now but the Lakers have won two straight games!
Amazing, we know, but in all seriousness, LA has been playing better of late in notching wins over Toronto at home and then Detroit on the road last night. In the 106-96 win over the Pistons, the Lakers got double-digit scoring out of six different players, and Wayne Ellington also helped out with nine points. Jordan Hill posted a big double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Kobe Bryant took on the facilitator role, handing out a game-high 13 assists to go with 12 points (and 10 turnovers!).
Despite notching two consecutive wins, the overall results this season have been awful to say the least for Byron Scott's team. The Lakers are 5-13 overall, and there are still going to be way more disappointments than successes along the way, as long as there isn't going to be a roster shakeup in the near future.
Looking ahead to tonight, this will be LA's third game in four nights and we worry that the tired legs will catch up to them, especially in having to face a very athletic and talented Washington backcourt. If the Lakers aren't careful, they're going to get blown out of the gym.
Credit the Lakers for picking up consecutive wins for only the second time this season, but we think the good times come to a crashing halt tonight.
With an extra day of rest, Washington should be feeling good for this game, especially since they're as healthy as they've been all season. The Wizards are a nice 7-2 on their home court, and you know they're not going to have much trouble putting the ball in the basket against this woeful Lakers defense.
With Wall setting the tone, look for the Wizards to pull away and win this thing by double digits. They'll be our recommended NBA pick for Wednesday night.
Free NBA Pick: Washington Wizards at Pinnacle Sports