Although the Los Angeles Lakers’ playoff hopes have been dashed for quite some time now, they were still able to play spoiler with a win over the Washington Wizards to effectively erase them from postseason contention as well.
Both teams traded baskets to start the game thanks in large part to the porous defense on each side of the floor. The Lakers were finally able to take the lead due to a hot start from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who finished the first quarter with 12 points while going 3-for-4 from deep.
Despite Caldwell-Pope’s outburst to open the game, it was Lance Stephenson’s filthy crossover on Jeff Green that helped Los Angeles end the first quarter on a high note. The Lakers managed to extend their lead to 13 at one point in the second quarter thanks to their concerted effort on defense.
While they were able to shore things up on the defensive end, Los Angeles had a rough time capitalizing off of Washington’s six turnovers. Regardless, they still managed to maintain a 67-56 lead going into halftime as LeBron James got his triple-double watch started with 12 points, seven assists, and five rebounds.
The Lakers came out firing from deep to start the second half and were able to jump ahead by 17 following back-to-back three-pointers from James and Rajon Rondo to force a timeout from Washington. The Wizards did not fare much better coming out of the break as the Lakers finished the third quarter with a double-digit lead on the back of Caldwell-Pope’s 27 points.
The Lakers were ultimately able to secure a victory while James fell just three rebounds short of securing his ninth triple-double on the season. Although Beal’s Wizards may have been officially eliminated from the playoffs, he still managed to add to his candidacy for a spot on this year’s All-NBA team with a game-high 32 points.