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Lakers' struggles continue in loss to Washington Wizards, 117-107

BasketballSportsPro BasketballLos Angeles LakersWashington WizardsSteve NashNick Young

Washington Wizards 117 - Lakers 107 (end of regulation)

The Lakers' race to the bottom continued on Friday night, in a 117-107 loss to the Washington Wizards at Staples Center -- but team fought until the end, almost literally.

With just over two minutes left in the fourth, Nick Young and Drew Gooden got into a scuffle after battling for a rebound. Gooden was called for a flagrant 2 and ejected. Young was given a technical, after pushing Gooden, in what appeared to be the face.

Marcin Gortat and Jordan Hill tangled as well. Hill was ejected with a technical foul. Gortat and Young were allowed to finish the game.

After falling behind by as many 21 to the Wizards, the Lakers rallied in the third quarter but not enough to give the Wizards more than a minor scare.

Pau Gasol missed a pair of free throws with 45.7 seconds left that could have brought the Lakers within five.

Instead the Wizards improved to 36-33, led by John Wall with 28 points and 14 assists.

The Lakers fall to 22-46, led by Jodie Meeks and Young, with 21 points apiece.

Steve Nash returned to the court, playing in just his 11th game of the season with nerve, back, hamstring and knee issues. The veteran point guard scored five points while dishing 11 assists.

Young and Hill also made their way back into active duty from knee injuries. Hill finished with nine points and 14 rebounds.

Gasol also had a double-double with 14 points, 14 rebounds and five assists.

The Wizards shot 48.3% from the field and 40.0% from three-point range (10-25). Bradley Beal scored 18 and Al Harrington had 15. Both Marcin Gortat (13 points, 13 rebounds) and Gooden (11 points, 11 rebounds) gave the Wizards double-doubles.

The Lakers hit 47.3% of their shots and 36.8% from three-point range (7-19) but the home team also turned the ball over 21 times.

Washington wasn't much better with 20 turnovers.

The Lakers next host the Orlando Magic (19-50) on Sunday. The Wizards travel to Denver to play the Nuggets (31-38), also on Sunday.

Only four teams are behind the Lakers in the standings -- the Utah Jazz (22-47), Orlando Magic (19-50), Philadelphia 76ers (15-54) and Milwaukee Bucks (13-56).

Wizards 87 - Lakers 81 (end of third quarter)

The Lakers fell behind by as many as 21 points before making a late third quarter run with a lineup of Steve Nash, Jodie Meeks, Nick Young, Ryan Kelly and Robert Sacre.

By the end of the period, the Lakers were down just six.

John Wall led all scorers with 24 points along with 13 assists. The Wizards shot 49.3% from the field and 47.6% from three-point range (10-21).

Nash dished 10 assists, playing just 12 minutes off the bench. Meeks was the Lakers' leading scorer with 16 points.

Jordan Hill started the second half in place of Sacre, nearing a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds -- but also four fouls.

The Lakers shot 50% from the field and 41.7% from three-point range (5-12).

Wizards 58 - Lakers 47 (halftime)

The Lakers were competitive in the second quarter, but weren't able to make up much ground against the Wizards.

Washington still shot a high percentage from the field for the game (50%), led by John Wall, Bradley Beal and Al Harrington -- all with 11 points.

Xavier Henry was the Lakers' leading scorer with 10 points off the bench. Jodie Meeks scored nine as the Lakers shot 42.9% from the field.

Jordan Hill nearly tallied a double-double in just 15 minutes, scoring nine points with nine rebounds.

Kendall Marshall had six assists in 16 minutes but didn't score.

Wizards 33 - Lakers 21 (end of first quarter)

The Wizards jumped out to an early double-digit lead over the Lakers, shooting 60.9% from the field in the first quarter. Bradley Beal led all scorers with nine points. John Wall had nine assists in just 11 minutes.

The Lakers got Steve Nash, Jordan Hill and Nick Young back from injury but shot just 37.5% from the field, led by four points from Pau Gasol and Jodie Meeks.

Nash finished the period with two assists in three minutes.

Marcin Gortat was a game-time decision with a back strain but was able to play, contributing six points and five rebounds in 10 minutes.

Pregame

The Lakers (22-45) host the Washington Wizards (35-33) on Friday night.

The Wizards visit on the second night of a back-to-back, after a 116-103 loss in Portland. Neither Marcin Gortat (back) nor Nene (knee) played for Washington.

Nick Young, Jordan Hill are both expected back from knee injuries. Steve Nash (nerve root irritation) will play a role off the bench but Wesley Johnson is sidelined with an upper respiratory infection.

Kobe Bryant (knee) and Jordan Farmar (groin) are also both out.

For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Wizards.

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Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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