The Los Angeles Lakers finally got a win thanks to another 50-point performance from LeBron James, beating the Washington Wizards 122-109.
James had his jumper working early, knocking down his first three of the night and another mid-range jumper to give the Lakers the lead. Malik Monk got going right after, scoring a quick seven points to force a Wizards timeout.
Talen Horton-Tucker made his return to the lineup, but Los Angeles suffered a scoring drought that allowed Washington to close the gap before a Carmelo Anthony basket. James came back in and helped re-settle things, but the defense gave up several open looks to the Wizards and the Lakers went into second tied at 26-26.
James remained hot from beyond the arc, draining a couple more threes while Horton-Tucker drew a rouse from the Crpyto.com Arena crowd after pulling off a crafty dribble move for a jumper. Monk looked shaken up after taking a hard fall but was fortunately able to get up and score on a tough layup to tie things again at 42-42.
The two teams then began to trade baskets, with the former Lakers Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope finally waking up and looking to score. Washington applied pressure with a 12-3 run and Los Angeles went into the locker room trailing 59-52.
Kristaps Porzingis remained a problem for the undersized Lakers as he bullied them underneath for offensive rebounds but Russell Westbrook was finally able to get a layup past him. James and Kuzma took over their respective teams’ offense, but the former scored 12 straight points for L.A. to give them a three-point lead.
James continued to abuse the Wizards as he got nearly any look he wanted from the floor, keeping the Lakers slightly ahead midway through the quarter. Wenyan Gabriel was a surprising source of scoring as he contributed five points off the bench and the Lakers took an 89-82 lead into the fourth.
Washington narrowed L.A.’s lead to two as the latter could not generate any open looks, forcing a timeout from head coach Frank Vogel. James and Monk came back and instantly re-settled the offense, extending the Laker lead back to eight and swinging the momentum back to their side.
With Washington opting to go small, Los Angeles took full advantage by attacking the rim and easily upping their lead to 11. The Wizards had no answer for James who simply had his way, capping his night with a three to get him to 50 points but the more important thing was the Lakers got the much-needed win.
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