The Los Angeles Lakers came into Thursday’s game hoping to get their road trip off to a hot start against the Washington Wizards who had won five straight and 15 in a row at the Verizon Center.
Fresh off an impressive win over the Denver Nuggets at the Staples Center, D’Angelo Russell and company hoped to keep it going against a formidable opponent in John Wall’s Wizards.
Coming off his a career-best 10 assist performance against the Nuggets, D’Angelo Russell got the game started off with an easy bucket off a Timofey Mozgov screen. Marcin Gortat then got Wizards on the board for the first time with a baby hook over Mozgov.
Russell’s slick passing continued with a no-look strike to Tarik Black in the paint who finished untouched with a dunk to put the Lakers ahead, 4-2. Bradley Beal countered with a three.
A three from Luol Deng tied the game up at seven following a bucket from Gortat. John Wall’s speed was put on display on more than one occasion in the first quarter as he extended the lead with an impressive drive to the basket.
D’Angelo hit from beyond the arc to get the Lakers within two. After two Wall free throws, Deng hit his second three of the game cutting the lead to one, 16-15. Otto Porter drained a three-pointer extending the Wizards lead. A floater from Jordan Clarkson keeps the game close. Beal then drained a three over Clarkson who struggled to keep up.
Larry Nance Jr. got on the board late in the first with a scooping layup. Dunk off a fastbreak by Clarkson ties the game at 24. After two baskets by the Wizards, Lou Williams hit a fadeaway three with the shot clock expiring to bring the Lakers back within one.
First quarter comes to an end with the Wizards leading, 31-29.
Kelly Oubre Jr. scored the first basket of the third. After a few empty possessions for both teams, Julius Randle checked into the game. Finally, the scoring drought came to an end with an awkward layup by Markieff Morris. Rookie Brandon Ingram followed that up with an awkward layup of his own on the other end.
Ugly possession after ugly possession. Lakers found themselves down by six. Jason Smith increased that lead to eight. Oubre did his part with a jumper that made it a 10-point deficit for the Lakers.
Nance ended the drought with a quick baby hook. A three by Beal’s made it a 12-point game. The solid second effort in the paint by Randle cut the lead back to 10. A thunderous dunk by Beal put the Wizards right back up by 12.
No-look dish from Wall to Gortat extends the lead even further. A dunk by Beal shortly after makes the Lakers’ deficit 16. No mercy for the Lakers as Beal’s hot shooting continued with another three. 5-for-5 on the night at this point.
High-arching jumper by Russell ends the drought. Beal finally misses a shot. A slick pass from Russell to Black cut the lead to 14. Two free throws from Ingram made it a 12-point game.
After a crafty move by Wall, the Lakers headed into halftime down big, 58-44.
The second half got underway with a solid defensive effort from Black to get possession. Nick Young drained a jumper to cut the lead to 12. Two free throws by Morris and Gortat hook increased the lead to 16.
Deng converted on a layup off a Russell pass giving the Lakers only their second basket of the quarter at that point. Black did some work in the paint hitting off the clock and drawing the foul. Trading a few free throws, Wizards’ lead remained at 12.
Another bucket from Deng made it a 10-point game. Black headed to the line once again after drawing the foul from Morris. Black hit both. Lead cut to nine. Wall then drilled a three. Young countered with one of his own to keep the deficit at nine.
Deng continued to keep up his offensive onslaught with an uncharacteristic dunk over Gortat. After a bucket by Beal, Russell hit a three to cut the lead to six. Porter then connected on a jumper which was followed up by a turnover by the Lakers. Wizards got back out to a nine-point lead and then to 11 after yet another Lakers turnover.
Russell hit another three to get it back down to single digits. Black countered a bucket by Gortat with one of his own. Porter then hit another three. 11-point lead for Washington.
Gortat continued to give the Lakers problems in the paint drawing the foul and finishing at the rim for his 16th point of the game. Marcin hit the following free throw. A jumper by Clarkson cut the lead to 10. Gortat continued his hot shooting with his 19th point.
Gortat just could not be stopped in the third as he scored again against a helpless Ivica Zubac. Ingram drew the contact on a drive and headed to the line for two. The rookie missed both. Clarkson connected on another jumper. Follow jam by Zubac cut the lead to nine. Consecutive buckets by Wall and Clarkson kept the lead at nine.
Third quarter finished with the Lakers trailing the Wizards, 90-79.
The final period began with a step-back three from Clarkson. Six-point game after free throws from Williams. Nance throws down the jam off a Williams pass to cut the Wizards’ lead to four.
Two free throws from Williams made it a two-point game with less than 10 minutes left in the contest. Williams then tied the game at 91 with a slick layup. Wall countered with a three. Nance connected on a jumper in the paint. Wall continued to turn it on with a layup. Three-point game. Wall again with a three which increased the lead to six for Washington.
Gortat followed a missed layup by Wall to push the Lakers’ deficit to eight. A three from Williams kept the Lakers close at 101 to 96. Airball from Wall. Russell didn’t do much better with a short shot of his own. Deng called for a charge. Beal connected with Morris for the jam. Seven-point game. Deng made up for the charge by draining a three.
Williams connected on a floater but was countered by another three by Porter. Nice pass from Williams to Black who finished a reverse. Five-point game. Goaltending call made it a one possession game. Wizards up, 108-105. Wall with another bucket. Black headed to the line. Knocked one of two. Four-point game. Wall connected once again with a jumper which gave the Wizards star 29 points on the night.
After an inbounds play that didn’t go well, the Lakers jacked up a few ugly shots and then were forced to foul Wall. The Wizards star hit both free throws essentially putting the game away. Clarkson hit a layup. Wall hit two more free throws.
Following a missed three by Russell, Wizards come out victorious as Lakers suffer a loss in their first game of the five-game road trip. Lakers fall, 116-108.