February 22: Washington Wizards vs. Los Angeles Lakers
February 23: Washington Wizards vs. LA Clippers
Back-to-backs will be more common than ever during the shortened, 72-game 2020-21 season. The Wizards won’t have a tougher back-to-back in the first half of the season than the one they have in Los Angeles. I doubt they’ll get anything more difficult in the second half of the season, either, once that schedule comes out.
Last season, the Wizards struggled against the Clippers (0-2) and the Lakers (0-1), but rookie Rui Hachimura was solid in all three of those outings. During Hachimura’s first trip to Los Angeles with the Wizards, he had a solid showing against the eventual NBA champions, the Los Angeles Lakers. Hachimura showed no fear throughout the night, going right at LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the offensive end. Sometimes it worked, but as the game wore on, the Lakers got wise to the rookie. Fueled by a hot start, Hachimura finished with an impressive stat line during an unimpressive loss: 16 points, eight rebounds.
The very next night, Hachimura lit up the Clippers for a season-high 30 points (56% FG; 40% 3PT), nine rebounds, and three assists. The Wizards ended up getting decimated by 25 points, but it was Hachimura’s best individual performance and a sign of what he could become.
Hachimura followed that up with a 17-point, seven-rebound, and four-assist performance one week later in another loss to the Clippers. Hachimura showed out during a tough west-coast back-to-back last season. Let’s see if he can have the same success, or better, during year two.