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Washington Wizards vs LA Lakers Prediction: Combined starting 5 featuring LeBron James and Bradley Beal

LeBron James #23 of the LA Lakers in action against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on December 16, 2018
LeBron James #23 of the LA Lakers in action against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on December 16, 2018
ANALYST
Modified 22 Feb 2021
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The resurgent Washington Wizards will take on the LA Lakers at the Staples Center on Monday at 10 PM ET. The matchup represents the first clash between the two sides in the 2020-21 NBA season.

With Anthony Davis out for a few weeks, LeBron James will once again need to shoulder the Lakers' responsibilities as the rest of the cast have not been at the top of their game.

Meanwhile, the Wizards have finally hit their stride, winning four consecutive games and climbing up to the 13th position in the East with a 10-17 season record.

Washington Wizards vs LA Lakers Prediction: Combined starting five

The LA Lakers will be kicking themselves for dropping two straight games ahead of this fixture. Their bench has not been productive, leaving King James to fend for himself in the last two outings.

Meanwhile, the Washington Wizards' sudden surge ahead of the All-Star break has been powered by their second unit. Davis Bertans, in particular, has found his form, averaging 16 points in the Wizards' four-game winning streak.

At this stage, the sluggish Lakers and the surging Wizards look evenly matched. Fans could witness a fiercely competitive game, featuring two 2021 NBA All-Star Game starters in LeBron James and Bradley Beal.

On this note, let's take a look at the combined starting 5 between the Washington Wizards and the LA Lakers.

Point Guard - Russell Westbrook (Washington Wizards)

Russell Westbrook #4 of the Washington Wizards looks to pass against the New York Knicks during the first half at Capital One Arena on February 12, 2021
Russell Westbrook #4 of the Washington Wizards looks to pass against the New York Knicks during the first half at Capital One Arena on February 12, 2021
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Russell Westbrook is having one of his worst years in the NBA. The former 2x scoring champ has not looked like his illustrious self, and his team has suffered as a result.

Having said that, even in a bad year, Westbrook is still averaging a near triple-double on the season, tallying 19.3 points, 9.7 assists and 9.5 rebounds in 20 games so far. He has been the driving force behind their recent uptake, registering three back-to-back triple-double performances leading up to this fixture.

The Washington Wizards could be on the verge of overturning their fortunes this season, with multiple players finding their groove.

Shooting Guard - Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)

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Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards watches his shot against the Toronto Raptors during the first half at Capital One Arena on February 10, 2021
Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards watches his shot against the Toronto Raptors during the first half at Capital One Arena on February 10, 2021

Bradley Beal has taken a leap over the last two seasons, elevating his game to reach a milestone (30 PPG) few have achieved in their careers.

Despite the Washington Wizards' early-season rout, Beal never lost hope and competed with the heart of a champion. His stellar performance this season has earned him a trip to the upcoming 2021 All-Star game as one of the starters representing the East.

Beal has been able to play the game at a high level by striking a balance between the mid-range game and the long-range attempts from downtown. He is shooting the ball with high accuracy from the floor (47.8% FG) and is looking primed to clinch the NBA scoring title this season.

Beal is averaging 32.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists on 47.8% shooting from the field in 25 games.

Small Forward - LeBron James (LA Lakers)

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LeBron James #23 of the LA Lakers celebrates his basket at the end of the third quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center on February 12, 2021
LeBron James #23 of the LA Lakers celebrates his basket at the end of the third quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center on February 12, 2021

LeBron James continues to dominate the game in his 18th year in the NBA. He is such a gifted athlete that he could join this list at any position and make a big impact with his all-around playmaking abilities.

While the LA Lakers have run into some turbulence lately, fans can rest assured that James will find a way to steady the ship.

Even now, King James can hunt players to the hoop with his trademark chase-down blocks. He can go clutch late in the game, sinking daggers through the hearts of opposing teams without breaking a sweat.

One of James' best qualities is his passing skills. He currently occupies the 8th spot on the all-time assist leaders in NBA history.

The 4x NBA Champ is averaging 25.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 7.9 assists on 50% shooting from the field.

Power Forward - Montrezl Harrell (LA Lakers)

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Montrezl Harrell #15 of the LA Lakers steals a pass at center court during Lakers win over the New Orleans Pelicans at Staples Center on January 15, 2021
Montrezl Harrell #15 of the LA Lakers steals a pass at center court during Lakers win over the New Orleans Pelicans at Staples Center on January 15, 2021

With Anthony Davis sidelined with injury, Montrezl Harrell will star as the power forward in our Washington Wizards-LA Lakers combined five.

Harrell, the former Sixth Man of the Year, was the talk of the town in the offseason as he jumped ship from the Lakers' cross-town rivals, the LA Clippers, to bring his talents over to the Purple and Gold.

The 27-year-old is undersized at 6'8" but competes hard every time he takes to the court. In Davis' absence, he will need to expand his role in the team and help James carry the load on both ends of the court.

Harrell remains a big piece for the LA Lakers this season and will be tested in the post-season when the game shifts to a brutal seven-game format.

Harrell is averaging 13.4 points, 6.4 boards and 1.1 assists with an efficient 64% shooting from the field in 31 games.

Center - Marc Gasol (LA Lakers)

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Marc Gasol #14 of the LA Lakers attacks the basket against Kevin Huerter #3 and Clint Capela #15 of the Atlanta Hawks
Marc Gasol #14 of the LA Lakers attacks the basket against Kevin Huerter #3 and Clint Capela #15 of the Atlanta Hawks

Marc Gasol is having a tough time in his new role with the LA Lakers this season. He has been one of the finest frontcourt players in the league for a while and was instrumental in Toronto Raptors' first NBA title in 2019. His efforts in that historic run opened the pathway for him to join the defending champions.

Gasol has a lot of room for improvement in his defense but can score the ball from a distance with his exceptional shooting abilities.

The former 3x All-Star may be in his twilight years but has enough fuel in the tank to make one last run towards the ultimate prize in all of basketball — the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.

Gasol is averaging 4.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 20 minutes per game for the LA Lakers this season.

Published 22 Feb 2021, 06:54 IST
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