The Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Lakers are set for a final tune-up as they meet up for their scrimmage on Monday inside the bubble at Walt Disney World.
The scrimmage starts at 3 p.m. ET. It will be broadcast on NBA TV (nationally), Spectrum SportsNet (locally in Lakers market) and NBC Sports Washington (locally in Wizards market).
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Wizards vs Lakers Scrimmage Preview
The Lakers and Wizards couldn’t have different expectations when it comes to the NBA bubble, but the two squads will do battle in a final scrimmage as they prepare for the eight seeding games where things will begin to count for real.
The Lakers are the title favorites as the NBA prepares for a restart after more than four months away. Behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers reeled off a 49-14 record, the best in the Western Conference.
The boys in purple and gold have gone 1-1 in their scrimmages so far, beating the Magic and falling to the Mavericks. Kyle Kuzma exploded for 25 points on 10-13 shooting, looking like a confident third option for the Lakers behind James and Davis.
“After starting the regular season in a different role with injuries, not playing in rhythm, just battling some of those things, to [having] a fresh mindset, being healthy and a second training camp so to speak, really seems to have benefitted him,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “We saw him play exceptional tonight and I just think that’s going to be a huge piece for us going into the playoffs.”
It’s unlikely that either James or David — who suffered an eye-poke in the team’s most recent scrimmage — play big minutes in the matchup. However, it’s important for the Lakers to figure out their rotation with guard Avery Bradley opting out of the restart and veteran Rajon Rondo suffering a broken thumb. Markieff Morris is expected to make his bubble debut after arriving late.
Washington has had a tough scrimmage schedule as they prepare without two of their most important pieces, including Bradley Beal, John Wall. Both of the big-salary stars are injured. Sharpshooter Davis Bertans has also opted out for the Wizards, as he’s due to be a free agent this offseason and didn’t want to risk injury.
The rag-tag Wizards have performed admirably, despite their 0-2 scrimmage record. They nearly bested the Clippers in their latest scrimmage and were able to hang with the Nuggets — two of the Western Conference’s best.
“Trust me: It was hard when we were up and playing really well,” Wizards coach Brooks said after the 105-100 loss to the Clippers. “I thought we got better today. We competed against a team that’s going to be right there at the very end.”
The Wizards sit 4½ games behind the Orlando Magic for the No. 8 seed and will have to take advantage of their eight seeding games to make up space.