The Los Angeles Lakers looked to bounce back from Wednesday night’s loss to the Boston Celtics as they traveled to take on the Washington Wizards Thursday night.
The Lakers beat the Wizards a couple weeks at Staples Center, so John Wall, Bradley Beal and company were surely looking for revenge. They also had extra motivation, coming off a bad home loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
Luke Walton went with the same starting five that he has put out there since Larry Nance Jr. with Lonzo Ball starting alongside Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Brook Lopez.
Starting alongside Wall and Beal for Washington was Otto Porter Jr., Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat.
Both teams got off to a good start as the Wizards won the tip and scored in eight seconds on a dunk by Wall. The Lakers came back quick and scored in less than eight seconds a Ball went coast-to-coast and finished a reverse layup.
The Wizards seemingly couldn’t miss to start out the game though, and a Porter three made the score 11-4 in Washington’s favor early, causing Luke Walton to call a timeout.
L.A. responded well out of the timeout, scoring eight straight points on a midrange jumper by Caldwell-Pope and back-to-back three-point plays by Lopez and Caldwell-Pope.
With Ball pushing the pace, the Lakers made it a point to get out in transition in the first quarter and were having a lot of success doing it.
The only problem was that the Wizards were thriving at that pace as well as Wall is one of the fastest players in the league, so the result was a very high scoring first quarter, with Washington leading 37-34.
The second quarter began with two turnovers in a row by Julius Randle and then a third one by Jordan Clarkson and the Wizards turned them into four points, causing another Walton timeout.
For the second time, the Lakers responded well out of a timeout as Kuzma knocked down a jumper and then created a turnover on the other end.
A few possessions later Clarkson knocked down a three to bring the Lakers within five, giving him 13 points in just eight minutes of action.
The Lakers got sloppy though as they allowed a four-point play on defense and then Kuzma committed an offensive foul, bringing their deficit to 54-41 after a nice jump shot by Jodie Meeks. Turnovers were a big factor for the Lakers as their deficit ballooned to 17.
Getting stops was a big problem for the Lakers the entire first half, and the result was a 69-56 halftime deficit.
Morris started the third by knocking down back-to-back three but Ball responded with a three of his own, his first of the night.
The Lakers got the deficit down to 12 as Ball found Ingram for a transition dunk, but that was followed by five straight Wizards points to reestablish their lead at 17.
Exchanging buckets is not something the Lakers wanted trailing by double digits, but unfortunately that’s what most of the third quarter was as L.A. couldn’t build any momentum.
Washington was even able to build on their lead towards the end of the quarter, getting it up to 21. A 7-0 Lakers run at the end of the quarter got it down to 14 at 91-77 at the end of three quarters.
The Lakers started the fourth with a bucket to cut the deficit to 12, but Washington answered as Tim Frazier beat the shot clock with a jumper.
With eight and a half minutes to go Tyler Ennis hit a jumper to bring the Lakers within 11, causing Scott Brooks to call a timeout presumably to get his starters back in the game.
The only change he ended up making was reinserting Wall into the game though and after a bucket by Ennis he immediately attacked the basket and finished an easy layup. Beal then came into the game the next possession and immediately drilled a corner three.
L.A.’s failed to gets stops defensively down the stretch, and that ended up being their downfall and back-to-back layups by Gortat put them up 18 with four minutes left.
Ball was looking to become the youngest player to ever record a triple-double, but fell short as he was taken out with 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists with three minutes left in the game.
For the second straight night the Lakers fell on the road though, 111-95, dropping them to 5-7 on the season.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB