On a night when they honored their late owner on his birthday, a night billed as "Remembering Dr. Jerry Buss," the injury-riddled 2014-15 edition of the Lakers played some inspired basketball Tuesday.
But all it got them was a step closer to some unwanted history.
It was the Lakers' ninth consecutive defeat, within one of their longest losing streak since the franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1960. Unless they can upset the Central Division-leading Chicago Bulls on Thursday at Staples, they will equal that ignominious record, set in the 1993-94 season.
Ellington had 28 points and rookie point guard Clarkson had 18 in his third NBA start.
They are just two of the players Coach Byron Scott said the team was going to "evaluate," with Kobe Bryant out for the season because of a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, and Nick Young temporarily sidelined by a sprained right ankle.
"I'm getting more comfortable," Clarkson said. "I just want to continue to get better."
Ellington and Clarkson combined for half of the Lakers' points and helped them build a 19-point lead in the first half before the Wizards, who have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, turned things around.
"I just made up my mind that I was going to come out aggressive," Ellington said. "We're a team that needs to be hungry."
Scott played for the Lakers in the 1980s during the Showtime era, when they won five of their 10 NBA championships under Buss' ownership.
Buss, who died in February 2013, would have turned 82 on Tuesday.
Team President Jeanie Buss, Jerry's daughter, sat in her usual seat, a row behind the courtside seats.
The team gave out Lakers rings to fans as they entered the building, and the players gave the fans something to cheer about before losing for the 11th time in 12 games.
With so many injured players on a roster that's not particularly good to begin with, Scott was asked what Jerry Buss' message to the team might have been.
"Stay the course. Stay the course," Scott said. "We know we're going through some rough times right now. The water is rough, but just stay the course. It'll get back to where it's smooth sailing and everything will line up like it should. That means the Lakers will be back to a championship-caliber team."
In the meantime, Scott said, "we just want to evaluate guys" on this team to see if they are worthy of being Lakers going forward.
"All of these guys are still auditioning," Scott said. "They are still playing hard to try and stay here. Or, you've got 29 other [NBA] teams in this league as well."
Scott said the Lakers need to establish "a calling card" and that it should be defense.
So what has been the Lakers' calling card this season?
"That we get hurt a lot right now," Scott said. "That's all I can think of right now. We do get hurt a lot."