Rapid Reaction: Wizards 116, Lakers 111
November, 26, 2013
By Dave McMenamin
WASHINGTON -- As is usually the case with the Los Angeles Lakers, all the talk coming into Tuesday was so centered on Kobe Bryant you almost forget there was a game to be played by all the healthy guys on the roster.
First, there was Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak explaining how the Lakers would still be championship contenders in Bryant's final seasons.
Then, there was the question of whether Pau Gasol would be a part of that or not with Bryant taking such a big piece of the pie.
And then Bryant himself said one of the least Bryant-sounding things of his life, saying how he could decide to model his game after Andre Miller, among others, when he returns.
And then the Lakers had those pesky Washington Wizards to deal with. Oh yeah.
L.A. had no answer for John Wall (31 points, nine assists) and Nene Hilario (a career-high 30 points) and saw its three-game win streak come to an end, falling back below .500 at 7-8.
While Bryant said he is still "probably weeks" away from a return, it doesn't get any easier for the Lakers in the immediate future either. They play in Brooklyn on Wednesday and are already 0-3 on the season on the second night of back-to-backs.
How it happened: L.A. trailed by five points heading into the fourth quarter before a couple of clutch 3-pointers by Wesley Johnson and Jordan Farmar got L.A. back to within a one-possession deficit in the final two minutes.
Gasol made a layup to put L.A. up by one, but Washington responded with a jumper by Wall and layup by Nene that gave the Wizards back a three-point edge with less than a minute to go. The Lakers would have had a chance to tie it with a 3-pointer with less than 30 seconds to go, but Steve Blake threw the ball away in transition and Wall tacked on a couple of free throws to push it to five one again.
L.A. had one last gasp after an and-1 for Gasol and Wall's lone free throw miss of the night (11-for-12), but former Wizard Nick Young missed an open 3-pointer a couple feet beyond the top of the key that could have tied it with L.A. trailing 114-111, but Washington held on.
What it means: After its strongest defensive effort of the season against Sacramento, L.A. was back to its lackadaisical ways on D, allowing the Wizards to score 116 points (including a season-high 59 in the first half) on 52.9 percent shooting.
Hits: Farmar led L.A. with 22 points on 9-for-11 shooting off the bench to go with eight assists.
Gasol neared a triple-double with 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds but had five turnovers.
All five Lakers starters scored in double digits.
Misses: L.A. had 17 turnovers leading to 28 points for Washington.
The Wizards outscored the Lakers 56-36 in points in the paint.
L.A. is now 1-5 on the road.
Stat of the game: Farmar shot 5-for-5 in the first half off the bench.
Up next: The Lakers travel to Brooklyn for the second night of a back-to-back Wednesday against the struggling Nets. They follow that up with an off day on Thanksgiving and then finish up their three-game trip in Detroit on Friday.