The Lakers capped off their Washington D.C. trip with a meeting against the struggling Wizards. Both teams met earlier in Los Angeles, and the Lakers were lucky to win the game despite a late-game let down. The Lakers did not have Sasha Vujacic for the game due to the trade, but Andrew Bynum played for the first time this season. This was the first of a back-to-back set of games, and it was imperative for the Lakers to come out with a victory.
The Washington D.C. crowd was excited for the matchup against the defending champs, and was ready for one of the most anticipated games of the season. The Wizards started off the game playing great basketball, and they were not willing to fall victim to the defending champs. Both teams were going back and forth, and the Wizards matched the Lakers every move. Five minutes into the game the Wizards had a mere one point lead, 8-7.
Andrew Bynum made his season debut at the 6:09 mark of the quarter, and he recorded his first points and block in nearly two minutes. Despite the fact that the Lakers added another seven-footer to their frontline, they were unable to pull away from the Wizards. Although neither John Wall nor Andray Blatche played, the game remained fairly close. The first quarter concluded with the Wizards leading by two, 24-22.
Once again, the “Killer Bs” provided the Lakers with energy and a faster pace on the offensive end. The Lakers opened up the second quarter on a 10-0 run to take a 32-24 lead. The Lakers were taking advantage of the Wizards in the paint, and they made it a priority to get to the free-throw line. Mid-way into the second, the Lakers forced the Wizards to commit 15 fouls, which led to 18 free-throw attempts.
The Lakers quickly expanded their lead, and the momentum was swung their way. The Wizards could no longer handle the Lakers’ size and speed, which ultimately led to their down-fall. At the end of the half, the Lakers had an eleven point lead, 57-46; they shot 55% from the field, while attempting 23 free-throws.
The Lakers entered the third quarter playing aggressive basketball and they were determined to put the game out of reach. Kobe took the team on his shoulders, he was making his shots and his passes were all on target. The Lakers maintained a double-digit lead throughout the quarter, and the Wizards never made a run to put a dent in their deficit.
The Lakers expanded their eleven point lead at halftime to 22, 92-70, at the end of the third. Unlike their previous game vs. the Nets, the Lakers knew the outcome of the game before the final period started.
The Lakers had the game sealed before the fourth quarter began, and the only reason to watch the game was to see the final margin of victory. Although the Wizards made a small run in the fourth, they still fell short when the final buzzer rang.
The Lakers beat the Wizards by 14 points, 103-89, and won their second consecutive game . In Andrew Bynum’s season debut he scored seven points, grabbed four rebounds and blocked two shots.
The Lakers shot 45% from the field, shot 40 free-throw attempts and improved to 18-7. The team will travel to Indianapolis tomorrow for their rematch with the Pacers.