NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, January 26th (All times eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (33-11) at Washington Wizards (14-29), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Lakers resume a season-long eight-game road trip in the nation's capital tonight against a reeling Washington Wizards team.
After a heart-breaking 106-105 loss in Toronto on Sunday the reigning champs took advantage of an off day Monday to make a trip to the White House where President Barack Obama congratulated them on their NBA title last season.
Obama, an avid basketball fan, was given a Lakers jersey with his name stitched on the back by Finals MVP Kobe Bryant and a signed ball by Derek Fisher.
"I want to congratulate [coach Phil Jackson] on his 10th NBA Championship, the most in history. I do want to point out that six of them came with the Bulls," joked Obama, who resided in Chicago before being elected the 44th President of the United States.
On the floor, LA has shown a few chinks in the armor recently and fell to 5-5 in their last 10 games on Sunday when Hedo Turkoglu made two free throws with 1.2 seconds left and the Raptors survived a final missed shot from Bryant to beat the Lakers at Air Canada Centre.
Bryant, who continues to play with a broken finger and balky back, narrowly missed a triple-double, finishing with 27 points, a career-high 16 rebounds and nine assists, but the Lakers fell to 1-2 on their long trip. Pau Gasol had 22 points and Andrew Bynum 21, with both players tallying nine rebounds.
A missed three-point try by Bryant with 15.3 seconds left gave the Raptors the chance for the win. Turkoglu then knifed into the lane before being fouled by Gasol.
"I didn't push him," Gasol said. "I think it was his momentum that caused him to fall. My arm was on his back, but I didn't push him."
Two free throws later, the Raptors were ahead one, and after a timeout Bryant's desperation three-point try clanked off the rim as time expired.
LA, which is a pedestrian 10-8 as the visitor on the year, will finish its trek with visits to Indiana, Philadelphia, Boston and Memphis.
The Wizards, who are finishing up a six-game homestand tonight, dropped their third straight game on Sunday against the LA Clippers.
Marcus Camby dominated the glass with 12 points and 19 rebounds in that one as the Clippers snapped their eight-game road losing streak with a 92-78 win over Washington.
Antawn Jamison had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards, who fell to 2-3 on their residency and are now just 3-8 since star guard Gilbert Arenas was suspended indefinitely for bringing firearms into the team's locker room.
Brendan Haywood added 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Mike James had 11 points in defeat.
"I don't think this is the Clippers from back in the day that were winning two or three games a year," Haywood chuckled. "This team right here has made one of the biggest improvements in the league."
The Lakers have won five in a row against the Wizards and three straight at the Verizon Center.
01/26 10:30:57 ET