Preview: Wizards face Lakers in second leg of L.A. back-to-back

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The Wizards (11-19) are heading into their third game of a six-game West Coast road trip. Today, they’ll play LeBron James and the Lakers (12-16) in Los Angeles. Can they find a way to get back into the win column? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHERE: crypto.com Arena (Los Angeles, CA)
WHEN: 9:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBC Sports Washington
RADIO: The Team 980 & The Wizards App

LAKERS:
Anthony Davis (right foot soreness — out)
Wenyen Gabriel (left shoulder sprain — out)
LeBron James (left ankle soreness — probable)
Juan Toscano-Anderson (right ankle sprain — out)

WILL BARTON PLAYING HIS BEST BASKETBALL

Wizards’ wing Will Barton is playing his best basketball of the season. After a slow start, he’s officially found his rhythm on the offensive end and is making a huge impact off the bench.

Over the last three games, Barton is averaging just over 19 points per game on 48% shooting from the field and 57% shooting from 3-point territory to go along with six assists and four rebounds.

Barton has been great with or without the ball in his hands, attacking relentlessly and spotting up nicely along the perimeter. He’s blossomed into a major part of the Wizards’ offense when they’ve needed him most.

SLOWING DOWN THE LAKERS’ ROLE PLAYERS

The last time the Lakers and Wizards played, Anthony Davis dropped a whopping 55 points on 22-of-30 shooting from the field. He was unstoppable. With Davis out of today’s game due to right foot soreness, most of the Lakers’ offensive burden will fall on LeBron James.

Even at this stage of his career, James isn’t a guy that can be easily stopped. He still finds ways to control the game and get his fair share of points. The most important part of the Wizards’ defense tonight will be slowing down the guys around James.

If the Wizards can stay attached to shooters and make life tough on guys like Austin Reaves, Lonnie Walker IV, and Dennis Schroder, they’ll put themselves in a good position to steal a road win.

KYLE KUZMA TAKING THE REINS

With the Wizards struggling through an extended losing streak, Kyle Kuzma’s offensive creation is as important as ever. They need him to attack the rim with ferocity, create open shots for teammates, and get out and run in transition.

Kuzma has played like an All-Star this season. He’s averaging a career-high 21.3 points per game on 46.1% shooting from the field. The Wizards will need every bit of what Kuzma can provide in order to snap out of their funk.



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