The Los Angeles Lakers headed into their matchup against John Wall’s Washington Wizards on Wednesday coming off the worst loss of the 2015-16 NBA season against the lowly Philadelphia 76ers. The Lakers couldn’t get anything going against the 76ers on Tuesday, but that didn’t carry over to the second game of a back-to-back situation against the Wizards.
Although Bryant’s status for Wednesday’s game was thought to be uncertain due to playing on back-to-back nights, Kobe played and had arguably his best game of the year thus far. Kobe finished with a season-high 31 points and impressed some of his teammates, including rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell.
Bryant helped lead the Lakers to victory against the Wizards with a vintage performance late in the game. Russell spoke to the media after the game and said he felt like a fan watching the five-time NBA champion put on a show in Washington via Lakers.com:
D'Angelo Russell on playing with Kobe Bryant tonight: "I was a fan just to really get to witness it in person."
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 3, 2015
The Lakers had control of the game throughout most of the contest on Wednesday. Los Angeles went up by as much as 19 points in Washington, but Wall and company continued to fight back making it a close game in the final moments.
Bryant’s shooting has been incredibly poor this season leading many to believe it may be time to defer to other consistent players like Jordan Clarkson. Despite his recent struggles, Bryant came up big in the fourth quarter scoring 12 of his 31 points, including a huge three to help seal the deal.
After clinching their third win of the season, the Lakers will continue their road trip taking on the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night at Philips Arena. Bryant and company won’t return to the Staples Center until Dec. 15 to host the visiting Milwaukee Bucks.