Wizards sweep Lakers for the first time in 43 years

WASHINGTON (AP) -- For the first time in franchise history, the
Washington Wizards have a season sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers.

They finished it off without All-Star forward Antawn Jamison,
who left in the first quarter with a knee injury that is looking
worse every day. They did it even though Gilbert Arenas was
hobbling with a sore knee.

They did it riding Larry Hughes' 21 points and 12 rebounds, plus
21 points from Arenas, and by dominating the lane against a Lakers
team that didn't have much fight. The Wizards built a double digit
lead in the second quarter and never looked back in Monday night's
95-81 victory.

"It's one we definitely wanted, one we definitely needed,"
Hughes said.

The Wizards won the other meeting 120-116 in overtime in Los
Angeles on Dec. 17, giving Washington its first season sweep since
the teams first met in 1961. By contrast, the Lakers have swept the
Wizards 10 times over the decades.

Although Jamison was gone, big men Brendan Haywood (16 points),
Etan Thomas (8) and Jared Jeffries (9) found the pickings easy
inside. The trio combined to make 14 of 18 shots as the Wizards
outscored the Lakers 44-20 in the paint.

"Without Antawn, those guys played well. Antawn was holding
those guys back all year," coach Eddie Jordan said jokingly.

Then he added: "When we talk about the proverbial step-up --
everyone has to step up -- that's what happened tonight."

They'll have to keep it up. Jordan didn't go into detail, but he
made it sound as if Jamison could miss a few games and will be
limited for the rest of the season. Jamison has a sore knee and
back from a season of playing the more physical power forward
position, and he recently had a streak of 386 consecutive games
come to an end. He limped badly through the first quarter and sat
down for good after playing just eight minutes.

"It's going to be a couple more days of rest, and then a
day-to-day evaluation from there," Jordan said. "He's trying to
gut it out. When he feels that he can give it another go, we'll let
him go. It's going to be a tough end-of-the-season from him."

The victory snapped a two-game losing streak for the Wizards,
who had lost eight of 11 and were in need of some momentum heading
into a stretch in which they play seven of their next nine on the

The Lakers were outhustled for long stretches of the game,
giving up easy fast breaks while letting the Wizards chase down the
loose balls. The lead was 19 early in the fourth quarter when Los
Angeles finally put together a run with a series of 3-pointers to
pull within nine, but Arenas responded with back-to-back jumpers,
and Haywood brought the crowd to its feet when he plowed through
the lane to dunk in a rebound during a fast break.

"We were beat in absolutely every category tonight, except we
had more assists," coach Frank Hamblen said. "I was very
disappointed in the way we came out and very disappointed in the
way we continued to play. ... There was an awful lot of smoke going
on with all the fireworks before the game. It was very smoky to
start that game -- maybe we were a little foggy. I don't know. It
was awful. I think the guys are probably embarrassed the way they
played. I'm embarrassed the way I had them prepared."

Caron Butler had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Kobe Bryant
scored 18 points for the Lakers, but Bryant made just six of 22
shots. Chucky Atkins added 15 points, but he started 0-for-7 and
made most of his shots after the Wizards had built the big lead.

"I was forced to take bail-out shots with the shot clock going
down, taking fadeaways from the corner and things like that,"
Bryant said. "Not necessarily great looks, but we had to put the
ball into the basket."

Game notes
The Lakers are 2-1 midway through their six-game road trip.
... The Wizards are 10-4 at home against Western Conference teams.
... Bryant used electrical stimulation Monday to help relieve
swelling in his right ankle, which he sprained earlier in the
season. "Ankle was a little stiff this morning," he said. ...
Lakers forward Lamar Odom said the Lakers' team chemistry is better
than advertised. "I used to hear stories that no one talked on the
Laker bus," Odom said. "Well, no one shuts up. Cracking on each
other, ribbing, you need things like that, especially when things
are going bad." ... The Wizards played without guards Juan Dixon
(sore ankle) and Anthony Peeler (sore knee). Forward Kwame Brown
played on a sore ankle. ... Odom was called for a technical foul in
the fourth quarter for attempting to punch the ball out of Brown's
hands during a dead ball.