David vs Goliath. That’s the right way to describe the next game on the schedule for the Washington Wizards (6-10). The Wizards, who are coming off a huge 140-132 win on Wednesday night against the Phoenix Suns, will face the Los Angeles Lakers, who have the best record in the NBA (16-2).
Obviously, the Lakers are the favorites in this matchup, coming in as a (-11) point favorite to win. However, this is a showdown that the Wizards can prove they’re no pushovers. Here are the keys to this matchup that Washington needs to focus on executing if they want to leave Staples Center victorious.
First Priority: Limit The Production Of The Lakers Stars
The first key to a Wizards victory is a hard, but necessary one. They must limit the production of LeBron James and Anthony offensively, who average 25.8 and 26.1 points per game respectively. The Wizards can’t let the NBA’s best duo take over the game on both ends of the floor.
They must make the “others” as Shaquille O’Neal refers to role players to beat them. If the Wizards can limit their production and put the pressure on the Lakers supporting cast to beat them, they have a shot to pull off the upset.
Second Priority: Limiting Turnovers
The second key to a Wizards victory is something most emphasize but don’t get done consistently. And that’s limiting turnovers on the road. Entering Friday’s contest, the Wizards are ranked ninth in the NBA when it comes to averaging the fewest turnovers, averaging 14.1 turnovers per contest.
Keeping the turnovers down to a minimum is vital if a huge road win is going to happen. The Wizards have to force the Lakers to beat them in the half court because they’re too good of a team to give extra possessions to. If Washington can keep the turnovers around 10 or under, they’ll be able to hang around and put themselves in a position to win.
Third Priority: Stay In The Fight
The final key to a Wizards victory is something that’s been heard countless times in the DMV area. It’s stay in the fight. And it’s definitely accurate here. To secure the franchise’s biggest road win in a good while, Washington is going to have to hang around. They can’t let the runs the Lakers will likely go on get to them. Los Angeles is 8-1 at home, so it’s definitely going to be a fight.
It’s all about mental toughness and an opportunity for this group to show that they won’t be an easy win teams can add to the win column before tipoff. A big piece of the formula for the Wizards to stay in the fight is Bradley Beal, who’s playing great basketball after a bit of a slow start. Beal is averaging career highs in points (28.9) and assists (7.0).
So if he’s aggressive and setting up his teammates from the opening tip, the Wizards won’t be behind the 8-ball. The three keys to a Wizards victory are a must if a huge upset is going to go down. And adopting the mantra of the 2019 World Series Champions, Washington Nationals, will definitely help too.