Five takeaways from the Lakers' loss to the Washington Wizards

Wayne Ellington, Jordan Clarkson have big night in Lakers' loss to Wizards, 98-92

The Lakers (12-34) dropped their ninth straight game Tuesday night, falling to the Washington Wizards (31-15).  Here are five takeaways from their 98-92 loss at Staples Center.

1. Wayne Ellington and Jordan Clarkson had tremendous nights against the potent backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal -- although the Wizards' pair helped carry their team to the win.

Ellington was stuck on 24 for some time, but finally scored late in the game to hit his career high at 28.  His previous best was with the Memphis Grizzlies, scoring 26 on Jan. 7, 2013.

Clarkson is in new territory, making just the third start of his rookie career.  He finished with a personal best of 18.

Meanwhile, Wall finished with 21 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds.  Beal added 19 points, but the Lakers pair held their own offensively.

2. Clarkson's mantra to himself is to play at a calmer pace.

"It's about slowing down, letting everything come to you," said Clarkson.

The rookie called Wall the quickest guard he's ever faced.  How can he slow down and simultaneously speed up to keep pace with Wall?

"It's just mental.  I'm fast as well, I've just got to slow down in my mind," said Clarkson.

3. Jeremy Lin, who led the Lakers with eight assists, praised Ellington on his big night, despite the loss.

"I'm just happy for him.  He works so hard," said Lin.  "He's a quiet dude, but he gets to work every day.  He has obviously been through a lot, so to see him succeed, I'm happy for him.  I really am."

Ellington, who lost his father tragically earlier in the season, has taken over Kobe Bryant's role as the Lakers' starting shooting guard.  Bryant will undergo surgery on Wednesday for a torn right rotator cuff.

4. Coach Byron Scott preaches defense, which has been a notable weakness for the Lakers this season.  While the team is giving up 106.1 points a night, second worst in the NBA, ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves' 107.2, the Lakers have done a much better job defensively of late.

Only two of the Lakers' last eight opponents have breached the 100-point mark -- although the Lakers haven't won any of the bunch.

5. Former Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce (toe) sat out for the Wizards.  Wall played through illness and ankle soreness.

"I was dealing with not going to shootaround, [being] sick all day since yesterday, but I just wanted to come out here and compete for my guys," said Wall.  "I've been dealing with sprained ankles, and taking time off practice when I can.  To re-tweak it was aggravating because it's swollen.  [I'm] just going to do as much treatment as I can with the ice bucket to prepare for tomorrow."

The Wizards play on Wednesday in Phoenix against the Suns (26-20).

For the first time in his career, Wall was recently voted as an All-Star starter in the Eastern Conference.

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

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