The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Washington Wizards, 127-119.
The Lakers faced little resistance getting to the rim as they scored several easy layups, but defensively they allowed the Wizards open looks beyond the arc. Washington had no answer for Los Angeles’ assault to the rim, and the latter was able to build a 20-13 lead as a result.
LeBron James dribbled baseline for a sweet reverse layup and followed it up with a beautiful pass to Malik Monk in transition for a dunk. The battle of the bench units favored the Wizards, but the Lakers went into the second leading 36-26.
James picked up where he left off in the first quarter, scoring right at the cup and from distance to push L.A.’s lead back to 13. James eventually surpassed Karl Malone for second on the all-time scoring list after a dive to the rim, but the Lakers let the Wizards climb back into the game midway through the period.
Without James on the floor, Los Angeles’ offense struggled to get quality looks though Russell Westbrook was able to get them back on track. Monk started to come alive offensively with another impressive dunk and a corner three, helping the Lakers take a 67-58 lead into halftime.
Stanley Johnson got in on the scoring action to begin the third, turning a steal into a layup and cutting for another easy bucket. The two teams began to trade shots from the outside, but Johnson finished a tough shot underneath to keep the Lakers ahead 87-75.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was able to keep Washington hanging around after nailing a midrange jumper, but James bailed Los Angeles out with another 3-pointer. However, Washington closed the quarter on a 10-2 run and Los Angeles was left with a lean 99-93 advantage.
Westbrook kept the Laker offense afloat as he nailed a pair of much-needed jumpers, including his first three of the evening. However, Los Angeles lost complete focus on both ends of the floor and found themselves tied with Washington after Kristaps Porzingis soared down the lane for a dunk over James.
With the Lakers going small, Porzingis became an issue as he scored over the top of the defense though head coach Frank Vogel won a challenge that erased an and-one opportunity. Despite a tough shot from Monk, Porzingis responded with another three and shut the door on a Laker win.