Five takeaways from the Lakers' 119-108 loss to the Washington Wizards

Before Tuesday's game, Luke Walton was asked if he wanted a win for his 37th birthday.

Walton said yes.


What he got instead was much better than a win. The Lakers did a lot of things well against the Wizards, especially in the third quarter. Ultimately, they didn't cede ground in their quest to keep their top draft pick.

Here are five takeaways from the Lakers' 119-108 loss to the Wizards.

1. Luke Walton used the word "beautiful" twice, in describing that third quarter. It deserved superlatives. The Lakers moved the ball well and because of that they got good shots. They made 15 straight shots, which hasn't happened in four months across the NBA this season. They made 15 of 16 shots overall. The last team to do so or better was Washington, which made 15 of 16 shots in the second quarter against Miami in April 2014.

2. D'Angelo Russell had a really good night both offensively and defensively, but he wasn't very chatty about it. "Working on adding that to the game," Russell said. "Being defensive minded from the start. I feel like it takes my game to another level." Russell was asked if he has to think about being defensive minded from the start more, rather than that mentality coming naturally, and this was his response: "Just being engaged. Locked in and engaged."

3. Walton was chatty about Russell's play. "He was brilliant," Walton said. "Some of the passing he had. I told him early on, 'We need to get the tempo and the pace faster.' … I thought he did a good job of doing that. Even with the fact that he missed some shots in the fourth, I don't care. .. He was active on defense. He was trying to tag cutters and do all the things we ask. Offensively he was getting what he wanted."

4. When I tweeted that the Wizards' experience prevailed in the end, a Wizards blog's Twitter account noted it was still getting used to comments like that. Not long ago, the Wizards were a young team on the wrong end of an experienced team's push. They are still fairly young, but showed in the fourth quarter they know how to win. They shot 62% and scored 37 points with John Wall scoring key baskets to complete their comeback.

5. So how will the Lakers learn that skill? "You go through it," Walton said. "You feel it. Ultimately you take a stand and you go into that fourth already locked in."

Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli