Kobe Bryant would like to see the Los Angeles Lakers play the
Washington Generals next.
That won’t happen but they will instead see the league’s worst
team that hails from the nation’s capital.
The struggling Lakers have been defenseless during a four-game
losing streak heading into Friday night’s road matchup with the
The Lakers (9-14) fell 116-107 at New York on Thursday, allowing
the Knicks to shoot 53.2 percent for the third-highest mark against
them. They yielded 68 first-half points, and have given up an
average of 62.3 during this slide.
“We are having a re-occurring theme that the first quarter is
just not good, and then the first half is not great and in the
second half we seem to turn it on, and we need to solve that
problem real quick,” coach Mike D’Antoni said.
Bryant scored 31 points and leads the NBA with 29.3 per game,
but Los Angeles fell to 1-11 when he scores at least 30. The Lakers
are trying to avoid their first five-game skid in two seasons.
“At this point I wish we had the Washington Generals on our
schedule,” Bryant said.
If the Lakers want to show improvement on defense, Friday
presents an ideal opportunity. Washington (3-16) is last in the NBA
in scoring at 90.4 points per game and field-goal percentage at
Los Angeles had won nine straight in this series before a
106-101 defeat in the lone meeting last season March 7.
There’s reason to believe that Dwight Howard, who had 20 points
and seven boards Thursday, can turn in a monster effort. Howard is
averaging 24.3 points on 73.4 percent shooting and 13.4 rebounds
per game in his last nine against the Wizards – all victories when
he played for Orlando.
Lakers forward Pau Gasol has missed the past six games with
tendinitis in his knees and remains day-to-day. Former Wizards
captain Antawn Jamison has started five times in his place, and
finished with three points Thursday.
Los Angeles is 2-8 on the road while Washington owns the NBA’s
worst home mark at 2-7.
Still, the Wizards have won three times since their 0-12 start
and are eager to take advantage of the Lakers’ woes.
“Everybody knows they’ve been kind of struggling and we look
forward to take advantage of that,” Washington reserve guard Shaun
Livingston said. “You got to come to play and we’re at home and we
tend to play well at home so hopefully we can come in with a lot of
The Wizards fell 99-93 at Houston on Wednesday, although their
backcourt of Jordan Crawford and rookie Bradley Beal combined for
There are signs that Crawford and Beal are gelling. Crawford is
averaging 19.5 points over his last eight games while Beal is
averaging 17.5 over his last four.
“He is being more aggressive and that’s the main thing,” said
Crawford about Beal. “He’s not passing up as many shots as he was
early and just being aggressive. We both have good size and we both
kind of do the same thing, shooting and driving. We play off each
other real well.”