NBA Preview – Why the Wizards will Beat the Lakers
Talk about the Bad and the Ugly.
Despite their shockingly poor start, the Lakers can’t lose to the Wizards, right? I mean, what better team to turn things around against than the team with only 3 wins in 19 games? Unfortunately for the Lakers, this is exactly the kind of game the Wizards have a tendency to steal. That is, games the Wizards are expected (even more than they usually are) to lose. When expectations are low, so is pressure. And when pressure is low, the Wizards are capable of playing a solid game of basketball.
Sure, both teams are under at least a degree of pressure to turn around underwhelming seasons. However, the expectations are considerably higher for the Lakers. Consider which team’s struggles have been most shocking. Is it the play of the Wizards, who ahve advanced past the first round of the playoffs one time in the last 30 (!) seasons? Or the Lakers, who have only missed the playoffs five times in their 64-year history? Although it is arguable that stars like Kobe play best under pressure, the opposite can be said of the Wizards – low stakes and low expectations are prerequisites for wins in DC. Just ask the Heat, who have lost three straight against Wittman’s team.
Consider last season. Why did the Wizards end 2011-12 on a six game win streak? Because once you have locked in the second-worst record in the league, the expectations are low and the stakes are lower. Why not beat the Bulls in Chicago, and the Heat in Miami? In fact, the Wizards topped the Heat twice in less than a week, handing the soon-to-be champs their biggest loss in the season finale.
Sure, playoff-bound teams rest their stars more often as the season draws to a close. But the Wizards’ performance against top teams does not just apply to these games. In fact, the 2011-12 Wizards beat the Lakers and the Thunder as well.
Perhaps the Lakers will figure things out as the season moves forward. However, tonight will not be the night when they take a step in the right direction. And although headlines will read “Lakers fall to lowly Wizards” and “Wizards shock Lakers,” the result should come as no surprise.
Wizards 99, Lakers 95