LOS ANGELES – Marcin Gortat said late Thursday night that if his back held up, he would do everything necessary to get on the court against the Los Angeles Lakers. About 90 minutes before the game, Gortat stretched at the center of the locker room and later hit the floor to warmup.
A day after barely being able to sit without grimacing, Gortat moved around without any complications. He took passes from Wizards assistant Ryan Saunders, curled the basket, dropped finger rolls and decided that he was good to go. The Wizards will gladly welcome him back as they attempt to snap a two-game losing streak and pull of a season sweep against the Lakers for the first time since 2004-05.
Coach Randy Wittman said that he wanted his team to be “dirtier” after it lost, 116-103, to the Portland Trail Blazers. When asked to elaborate on his comments, Wittman explained that he meant, “Laying it all on the line. Stepping in, taking charges, diving on the floor for loose balls, those type of things in order to win games. I like to see us tougher, not giving in to whatever the case may be. Being tougher mentally. We need to take a step in that direction.”
The Wizards (35-33) entered Friday’s game trailing the fifth-place Brooklyn Nets by 1½ games in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. The Lakers are headed to the lottery for the first time in nine seasons but John Wall feels that they could still be a dangerous team because of a free-flowing offense that usually puts up a lot of points – but also surrenders much more.
“They’re a team with guys that just play,” Wall said. “They spread the court and play basketball and everybody has freedom. You definitely have to respect those guys. They got a lot of people on their team that can score the ball. They scored a lot against us when we played them last time when we was in DC. They beat OKC at home and some pretty good teams this season. It’s very tough, giving one away in Sacramento and losing a tough game. Now you got to take care of the Lakers and then Denver to finish this trip even.”
Former Wizard Nick Young will return after sitting out for about a month with a sore left knee and former two-time most valuable player Steve Nash will also come back as the Lakers (22-45) attempt to avoid having the worst record since the franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1960. The 1974-75 Lakers went 30-52.
(TV: Comcast SportsNet. Radio: WJFK-106.7 MF, WFED-1500 AM).
Here’s some reading to help you get ready for the game: