NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 14th (All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (9-14) at Washington Wizards (3-16), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - As the Los Angeles Lakers wait for the return of guard Steve Nash, they continue to get outgunned on the floor.
The Lakers hope to snap their season-high four-game slide -- one in which they have allowed at least 100 points each time out -- on Friday night against the lowly Washington Wizards.
After struggling out of the gate to a 1-4 record under Mike Brown and his Princeton offense, the Lakers eventually turned to Mike D'Antoni and his more fast-paced style.
D'Antoni had tons of success with his offense in Phoenix alongside Nash, who was acquired by the Lakers this offseason from the Suns but hasn't played since Oct. 31 due to a broken leg.
But with Nash sidelined, Los Angeles is 4-9 under D'Antoni and its current losing streak is the club's longest since dropping five straight from April 3-10, 2011.
The Lakers yielded 41 points in the first quarter on Thursday night to the New York Knicks on the way to a 116-107 setback. Kobe Bryant had 31 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in defeat, while Dwight Howard notched 20 points and seven boards.
Metta World Peace finished with 23 points and six rebounds for the Lakers, who are also without guard Steve Blake and forward Pau Gasol. Blake is out following abdominal surgery, while Gasol has missed the last six games due to knee tendinitis.
"It is knowing the situation. It is tough," said Bryant. "It has been a huge adjustment for all of us. We have to figure it out. We have some key pieces out. When they come back we will get this thing lock and loaded and make some adjustments."
Those adjustments may have to come on the defensive side first as the Lakers are yielding 111.8 points per game over their losing streak.
The Wizards could be a short-term cure for the Lakers, who play the third of a four-game road trip on Friday.
Washington is last in the NBA in scoring at just 90.4 points per game and is just 3-16 on the season.
The Wizards won for the first time in nine road games this season on Tuesday, beating New Orleans to give them a split of six games since an 0-12 beginning. However, Washington fell right back into the loss column the following night in Houston, falling 99-93 to the Rockets.
Rookie Bradley Beal had 20 points and six assists, while Emeka Okafor notched a season-high 19 points in defeat. Chris Singleton came up with a career-high four blocks.
"We just take too many tough, bad shots in situations sometimes," Washington head coach Randy Wittman said. "You have to move the ball and we don't and that gets us in trouble and we fall in a hole."
Jordan Crawford made the start at point again with A.J. Price and John Wall both out with injuries. Crawford, who had 17 points versus the Rockets, is averaging 19.6 points over his last seven games.
The Wizards won their only meeting with the Lakers last season 106-101 in Washington, snapping a nine-game series losing streak. It was also their first victory in their past six games at home versus Los Angeles.
12/14 10:33:40 ET