The Washington Wizards just got routed by the Lakers, and next up is the Los Angeles team they really have trouble beating on their visits to Southern California.
Washington strives to end an 11-game losing streak against the Clippers in Los Angeles when the teams meet at the Staples Center on Sunday night.
The Wizards haven’t beaten the Clippers in Los Angeles since posting a 91-89 victory on Feb. 13, 2008.
Last season’s visit was a total wipeout, with the Clippers rolling to a 136-104 win.
Friday’s loss to the Lakers wasn’t exactly a lot of fun for Washington, either, as it trailed by 39 points in the third quarter before falling 125-103. The Wizards had no answers in terms of slowing down either Anthony Davis (26 points, 13 rebounds) or LeBron James (23 points, 11 assists).
“That’s the best team in basketball,” Washington coach Scott Brooks said afterward. “That’s the best team we’ve played all year now. Their record is 17-2 for a reason. They’ve got two of the best players in the league.
“You’ve got to be able to sustain and play physically and make shots. We didn’t make enough shots in that first half, and they were aggressive. They’re long. Defensively, they’re good. It was a tough night.”
The loss leaves the Wizards 1-2 on a four-game road swing. The excursion began with a 117-104 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday and continued with a 140-132 triumph over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.
But Friday’s outing was lackluster from the start, as Washington trailed by 21 at halftime. Overall, the Wizards shot 39.6 percent and committed 19 turnovers.
“We just need to be a little more consistent,” standout shooting guard Bradley Beal said after the setback. “It’s definitely somewhat frustrating but at the end of the day, we realize it’s a long year. We’ve got a lot of games left, and we have gotten better defensively.”
The Clippers are also coming off a disappointing showing, as their seven-game winning streak ended with Friday’s 107-97 road loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Forward Kawhi Leonard had a dismal shooting performance in his second appearance in San Antonio as a visiting player. He was just 8 of 23 from the floor while scoring 19 points.
Forward Paul George was much worse, scoring a season-low five points on 2-of-11 shooting.
“I didn’t really find a good rhythm,” George said after playing in his ninth game since undergoing offseason surgery on both shoulders. “Still just trying to figure out playing out there with my guys.”
In addition, stellar reserve guard Lou Williams also established a season low with seven points on 2-of-10 shooting. The three-time Sixth Man of the Year had scored 20 or more points in 10 of the previous 12 games.
Overall, the Clippers shot 39.1 percent from the field and committed 15 turnovers while falling for the first time since Nov. 14 to the New Orleans Pelicans.
“They wanted it more, and it showed,” Los Angeles point guard Patrick Beverley told reporters of the Spurs. “They came in here with an edge, with more of a thirst, and it showed.”
The Clippers will look to turn it around at home, where they are 11-1 this season. The lone setback came against the Milwaukee Bucks 129-124 on Nov. 6, when Leonard sat out.
Washington coach Scott Brooks is taking time away from game planning on Saturday night when his number (12) is retired by nearby UC Irvine. Brooks played two seasons (1985-87) at the school and averaged 23.8 points per game as a senior.
“It’s humbling,” Brooks told reporters on Friday. “It’s awesome. I love Irvine. It’s a terrific school.”
Wizards guard C.J. Miles (wrist) will miss his third straight game. He is set to see a specialist on Monday.
Los Angeles guard Rodney McGruder (hamstring) will likely miss his second straight contest.
Overall, the Clippers have won 16 of the past 21 meetings. The teams split two matchups last season.
–Field Level Media