The Lakers were coming off of two straight victories on Wednesday for the second time this season. While there has not been much to get excited about in southern California in regards to it’s team, The Lakers have put themselves in a position to remain undefeated against Eastern Conference foes.
The Lakers would enter Washington DC with a 5-13 record, tied for dead least in the West. While they beat the first place Raptors who are dealing with injuries on Sunday, LA would have to beat a second place Wizards team. Quick and elusive guards have been an issue for the Lakers all season and The Wizards have two in Bradley Beal and rising star John Wall.
Kobe has assumed the role of facilitator in the Lakers recent victories and would look to get his teammates involved early. By drawing the attention of the Wizards guards on offense, Kobe would do his best to distribute wide open looks for Nick Young and Jordan Hill.
Hill got things going with a layup early on as Jeremy Lin found him inside. After a Paul Pierce bucket, Kobe hit two straight jumpers in the opening minutes. After a Beal three-pointer, Hill would add two free throws and Carlos Boozer would hit his usual 15 footer. The Wizards looked inside for scoring, as they set up Marcin Gortat for four straight points. John Wall hit a step back jumper from the left baseline and Wes Johnson responded with a three as the Lakers trailed after six minutes 16-15. Ed Davis checked into the game with about five minutes to play and recorded an offensive rebound and an assist to Kobe for his sixth point of the game. Davis would score two free throws to tie the game at 18 but the Wizards scored four straight points in the paint. Kobe continued to take advantage of the mismatch he had with Beal guarding him as he backed the smaller guard down all the way to the basket for a three-point opportunity. Kobe would hit the free throw for his ninth point of the quarter. He would hit two straight three-pointers before leaving the game for the quarter. Kobe and The Lakers would take a breather after Nick Young dropped in a three of his own as the score was 33-27 in favor of the Lakers.
The Lakers would open the second period with another Young three. Rasual Butler would hit his second three of the game as The Wizards would try and narrow the gap. Ronnie Price got into the act of shooting threes, dropping in a shot from beyond the arc. Young would add to the Lakers hot shooting as he would hit his third jumper of the night. Johnson knocked in the Lakers eighth three to put them up by nine. It was at this time that Kobe bumped knees with Beal and came up limping. It looked like just a typical bruise and Kobe walked it off and elected to stay in the game. He would drop one of two free throws on the next possession for his 16th point. The Wizards made a strong comeback and after a Pierce and-one, The Lakers lead was only three. Gortat would make a layup, but Kobe would score on a fadeaway to stop the onslaught. Kobe would score his 20th point of the half after a second straight shot from the outside and with two minutes left the score was 52-47. The Wizards turned on the burners late and scored seven straight points to take the lead to make the score 54-52 Wizards going into the half.
John Wall started with an explosive move to the basket for a three-point play to extend the Wizards lead to five. Gortat and Wall would score four straight points as The Lakers began the first two and a half minutes scoreless. Pierce continued to be the aggressor while Kobe was guarding him scoring on a 15 footer from the elbow. But Boozer would hit a jumper and Kobe found Hill on for two straight open layups to make the score 65-60. Kobe created a Wall turnover which lead to a clear path foul for The Lakers. Kobe would hit one of two free throws. Pierce would respond with a layup. Kobe hit two of three foul shots after being fouled on a three-point attempt, but Gortat made an easy layup to keep the lead at 10. The Lakers would go on a four-point run to cut the score to 78-69 Wizards.
The Lakers second unit came out with energy. Davis blocked a shot that lead to a Young three. On the next possession Young would hit another shot from downtown to cut the lead to five. The Wizards forced a steal and earned a layup, but Robert Sacre backed down his man for a layup to make the score 82-77. After a Wizards bucket, Young got a steal and a layup but Butler hit a shot in response. Price made The Lakers 11th three of the night to cut the lead to four. After going back and forth Kobe and Boozer would enter the game with six minutes remaining. Young would hit two free throws for his 20th and 21st points of the game. After a Gortat dunk, Kobe found Boozer for an easy layup and Price hit a three to cut the Wizards lead to six with three minutes left. Two Kobe free throws cut the lead to four but a Wall jumper pushed it right back to six. The comeback attempt would come up short however as a Kobe miss and turnover led to two transition baskets for the Wizards, giving them a 10 point lead that the Lakers could not overcome. The Lakers would fall to the Wizards by a final score of 111-95.[divide]
NBA Record: Kobe Bryant First With 6,000 Assists And 30,000 Points