nba
03.04.2024

Los Angeles Lakers @ Washington Wizards Game Preview and Pick: Hachimura Lights Up Former Team

If there were ever a stretch of teams to play down the stretch of the regular season, the Nets, Raptors, and Wizards would be at the top of the list. Well, after beating Brooklyn and Toronto, the Los Angeles Lakers will wrap up a six-game roadstand tonight in Washington against a 15-61 Wizards team.

Washington has their fair share of weaknesses, and even with their defense looking a bit better down the stretch, I think Rui Hachimura can stuff the stat sheet against his former team.

Game Preview

Barring any crazy shakeups over the last few games of the season, the LA Lakers look destined for the Play-In Tournament. While that is not the ideal way for a team filled with veterans to enter the postseason, at the very least, LA will be entering with some momentum.

Over the past two weeks, the Lakers have kicked things into hyperdrive, going 6-1 in that span and ranking 7th in the league in point differential, according to Cleaning the Glass. Just last night, the Lakers beat the Raptors 128-111, shooting 51% from the field and 44% from three.

Following that shooting performance, the Lakers are now 3rd in the league in effective field goal percentage (57.4%) and true shooting percentage (61.4%) over the past ten games. For as good as those numbers are, the Lakers have arguably been even better on the defensive end of the floor, ranking 6th in the league over the past two weeks in points allowed per 100 possessions in non-garbage time, per Cleaning the Glass.

Of course, it does help that three of the Lakers' last four opponents rank 23rd or worse in points per 100 possessions over the past two weeks, and that trend will continue tonight, with the Wizards ranking 26th in that span. Despite ranking at the bottom of the league in most offensive metrics, the Wizards are coming off a 117-113 win over the Bucks last night, in which they shot 51% from the field.

Aside from the fact that they just beat a playoff team without their leading scorer, what is even more surprising about this Wizards team is that they are also 5th in points allowed per 100 possessions in non-garbage time over the past two weeks (Cleaning the Glass).

Pick for the Game

At the time of writing this, the Lakers will seemingly have the same roster they had last night, but there is a very good chance Anthony Davis or LeBron James pop up on the injury report at some point in the day. Regardless of their status, Rui Hachimura is the focus of this article, as he has stepped up in a big way as of late, which has me taking the over on his points+rebounds prop of 18.5, which is the line set in most shops, including ZenSports.

Over the last ten games, Hachimura is averaging 23 points+rebounds per game and has exceeded tonight’s total in six of those contests. In this recent ten-game stretch, the former Wizard is averaging 17 points per game, which is close to four points higher than his full-season average. No matter how improved the Wizards defense has been lately, Hachimura is shooting 63% from the field over his last ten games.

For as good as Washington has been defensively, their rebounding numbers have remained towards the bottom of the league. Over the last ten games, Washington is 28th in rebounds allowed per game (45.7), and in that span, Hachimura is averaging six rebounds and 10.9 rebounding chances per game.

Recap

  • Rui Hachimura Over 18.5 Points+Rebounds (-115) on BetMGM

*odds subject to change

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