Marcin Gortat's presence for Friday's game shouldn't matter. A loss to the Los Angeles Lakers not only would be unacceptable for the Wizards because this is one of the NBA's worst teams, but it would mark a sharp downturn in their fortunes since they've already lost the first two games of this four-game road trip.
And this is a back-to-back, which in the NBA is tricky as it can be an equalizer for teams such as the Lakers (22-45).
Gortat missed his first game of the season Thursday because of a sore lower back and the Wizards (35-33) lost 116-1103 at the Portland Trail Blazers. Kevin Seraphin didn't provide much in his absence, getting just four points on 2-for-7 shooting and failing to score in the second half when Portland ran away with the victory. He only lasted 19 minutes and was hit with four fouls.
The Wizards lost a six-point lead in 53 seconds to end the second quarter. Instead of leading at the half in Portland, they trailed 53-51 at halftime and it carried over to start the third quarter. Gortat had nothing to do with that lapse.
"To give up eight points in 53 seconds, it's hard to do. If we weren't out on the floor it would be hard for them to score eight points in 53 seconds," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "That sucked a lot of our air out coming in at halftime. We're up six and then we're down two. The first couple minutes of the third quarter we were still dragging from that."
Drew Gooden played closer to starter's minutes off the bench, scoring 18 points and grabbing a team-high nine rebounds in 26 minutes. He might be the better option to combat Pau Gasol, who isn't playing his natural position of power forward because of injuries to the Lakers' roster.
Seraphin, making his first start of the season Thursday, may be more comfortable coming off the bench where he can focus on instant offense.