Lakers end four-game losing streak with victory over Wizards, 102-96
Lakers 102 - Wizards 96 (final)
The Lakers (10-14) ended their four-game losing streak, muddling through a difficult fourth quarter against the Washington Wizards (3-17) to win 102-96.
Playing through back spasms, Kobe Bryant had one of his best, worst performances of the year. His 30 points on 9-29 shooting were badly needed but it certainly wasn’t pretty along the way.
Bryant also had seven assists and seven rebounds. Dwight Howard fought through foul trouble to finish with 12 points and 14 boards.
Reserve Cartier Martin had 21 points to lead the Wizards who had five players in double figures.
Jodie Meeks had a big night for the Lakers with 24, helping the Lakers stay in the game when they fell behind by nine. The Lakers shot 45.1% from the field while Washington shot 43.4%.
Devin Ebanks made his first start of the year at forward, scoring eight points on 4-10 shooting. Antawn Jamison played just 6 1/2 minutes. Jordan Hill sat with back spasms.
Lakers 83 - Wizards 69 (end of third quarter)
Martell Webster hit a three-pointer to start the third, tying the game at 58. The Lakers would score the next 10 points until the Wizards’ Jordan Crawford finally converted a running jumper about four minutes later.
Washington charged back with six-straight of their own but the Lakers, and Kobe Bryant, took over to push the Lakers up by 14.
Bryant finished with 22 points and a +/- on +25, leading individually in both. Jodie Meeks contributed 19 as the Lakers hit 50% of their shots from the field.
The Wizards had four scorers in double-figure, led by Cartier Martin’s 15. As a team Washington has had 17 turnovers while shooting just 41.3% from the field.
Lakers 58 - Wizards 53 (halftime)
The Wizards carried their late first-quarter momentum into the second period, taking a nine-point lead before the Lakers started finding ways to score.
Going deep into his bench, Coach Mike D’Antoni got minutes out of Robert Sacre, Darius Morris, Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks. It was Meeks who carried the load, scoring 12 points in a little over 13 minutes to lead the Lakers for the game.
The Wizards got even more from reserve Cartier Martin, who scored 15 points in under 12 minutes.
As a team, the Wizards are shooting 53.8% from the field, identical to the Lakers with both teams shooting 21-39.
The Lakers hit one more three-point shot and converted two additional free throws, accounting for the small Lakers’ lead.
Dwight Howard struggled with foul trouble, collecting three fouls in the first half. He played just under 13 1/2 minutes, tallying four points and four rebounds.
Lakers 27 - Wizards 25 (end of first quarter)
For a moment it looked like the Lakers were going to play defense Friday night, in a visit to the Washington Wizards on the second night of a back-to-back set. An early nine-point deficit had the Wizards reeling.
Over a minute-long stretch for Washington near the end of the period, the home team scored nine points to get right back into the game.
The Lakers finished ahead by just two, led by Kobe Bryant’s 11 points. As a team, the Lakers shot 52.4% from the field.
For most of the quarter the Wizards shot a low percentage but their late run lifted their team percentage up to 50%. The Lakers forced nine first-quarter turnovers.
Coach Mike D’Antoni started forward Devin Ebanks in place of Antawn Jamison. Center-forward Jordan Hill sat out with back spasms.
How bad are the Lakers? Friday should answer that question as they visit the Washington Wizards (3-16).
Granted the Lakers will improve once Steve Nash (leg), Pau Gasol (knees) and Steve Blake (abdominal surgery) return from injury, but the Lakers (9-14) have looked positively awful lately.
They’ve dropped four straight and have a chance to get a vital win on the road against another struggling team. The Wizards have plenty of injuries (John Wall, A.J. Price and Trevor Ariza) while scoring just 90.4 points per game.
As bad as the Lakers’ defense has been over the past week, they should be able get a win in Washington.
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers at Wizards.
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