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News » Lakers-Wizards Preview


Lakers-Wizards Preview


Lakers-Wizards Preview
A last-second shot has provided the only bump in the road of late for the Los Angeles Lakers.

It's doubtful the Washington Wizards will provide another Friday at the Verizon Center.

The Lakers (15-2) come into this game having won eight of their last nine. The only loss in that span came Tuesday at Indiana when the Pacers' Troy Murphy hit a tip-in at the buzzer to hand Los Angeles a 118-117 defeat.

The Lakers rebounded Wednesday with a 114-102 win in Philadelphia as Kobe Bryant scored 32 against his hometown team and Pau Gasol had 22 points and 13 rebounds.

Bryant has averaged 29.5 points in the last four games to move to fourth in the NBA in scoring (25.1). He has also hit 55.6 percent of his shots from the field in that time, including a 12-for-20 performance against the 76ers.

"If Kobe shoots the ball that well, we're going to have a good winning percentage because he's going to take most of the shots," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.

Like Bryant, Andrew Bynum has also increased his scoring and field goal percentage over the last four games. Bynum has averaged 17.8 points in that span and shot 60.0 percent from the field. He scored 18 against Philadelphia, hitting seven of his 11 shots.

After Wednesday's game, Bynum moved to 12th in the league in field goal percentage at 54.8 percent, two spots behind Gasol's 55.6.

It was Gasol's third straight game with 20 or more points, but his first with double-digit rebounds since Nov. 14.

Bryant now gets a chance to face the Wizards (3-13), a team he's recently tormented. The future Hall of Famer has averaged 35.3 points, shot 50.0 percent from the field and 45.5 from 3-point range in the last six meetings.

The Lakers have allowed opponents to score 102.4 points per game in their last 10, but that hasn't proved a problem because Los Angeles has averaged 111.5.

Washington isn't one of the better scoring teams in the league. The Wizards took a two-point lead in the fourth quarter Wednesday against visiting Portland, but couldn't hold on in a 98-92 loss, their third defeat in the last four games.

"Close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades, you know?" Wizards interim coach Ed Tapscott said. "So we've got to close the deal."

Antawn Jamison led Washington with 22 points on 10-of-17 shooting Wednesday and has led the team over the past seven games with 24.0 points, 10.1 rebounds and 55.2 percent shooting from the field.

Jamison, who tops the Wizards with 9.3 rebounds per game, has not shined in recent meetings with the Lakers. In the last nine games, Jamison has scored 16.2 points, shot 41.0 percent from the field and grabbed 7.3 rebounds.

Former Laker Caron Butler leads the Wizards in scoring at 21.3 points per game, but hasn't fared well against his former team lately. Butler has shot 32.0 percent from the field in the last three meetings and averaged 15.7 points.

The Lakers have won three straight over Washington but have split the last six meetings at the Verizon Center.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 5, 2008

 

 
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