Of course, it’s appropriate that Bryant made a game-winner for the Lakers, right?
Anyway, the Lakers won a close one after a lot of wild swings in this game. The Lakers handed the Wizards their 10th straight loss, 119-117.
Let’s talk about the game-winner. All I can really say is that… it was a broken play:
LeBron James nearly gave the ball away on that pass and was able to get it back. In all the chaos, the Wizards left Thomas Bryant open and LeBron was able to find him under the rim for an easy dunk. With no timeouts left, Kyle Kuzma ran down to their end and went for the win but he missed badly. The Lakers escaped with the win.
Like I said, there were some wild swings in this game. The Lakers led by 14 at the half and it looked like they were going to blow the Wiz out of the water. Unfortunately, they didn’t get that desired result as Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, and Kuzma had a 13-0 run that gave Washington an 88-84 lead. In the midst of that run, Austin Reaves sprained an ankle and it looked like he wasn’t going to come back. He came back later but didn’t feel right so he was taken out. More on that later.
Washington looked real good to start the fourth quarter and led, 95-87. Then the Lakers themselves had 11 unanswered points to take the lead back. While the Wizards did take the lead back, Thomas Bryant made two straight corner threes to give the Lakers back a cushion. Then we saw Reaves (who came back a second time) and Daniel Gafford (who had also hurt his ankle earlier but came back as well) traded buckets (Reaves with his floaters and Gafford with his dunks).
After a Beal bucket, LeBron James was given what was basically a free dunk. The Lakers took a 117-115 lead. Beal was fouled, however, in the ensuing possession. He made the two free throws and it set up the finish that I had mentioned earlier.
You noticed that I mentioned Bradley Beal quite a bit here. When I wrote the preview, he was listed as questionable. He was made available at gametime and he played like he didn’t miss a beat. Beal led the team with 29 points. Kyle Kuzma was a monster on the boards, grabbing 16 of them to go with his 22 points. After an atrocious start, Porzingis ended with 21 points and 11 boards. Gafford was key in the Wizards’ run; he was a perfect 6 for 6 and had 12 points. The game was close that nothing really stood out for the Wizards in a negative manner other than their three-point shooting, which was at a .256 clip (10 for 39).
The Lakers probably should’ve put this game away early, especially since they have another game on Monday (on the road against Phoenix, too). All five starters scored in double figures. LeBron had his fourth straight 30-point game and went for 33-7-9. Lonnie Walker IV got out of his mini-slump and scored 21 points (he also had a scary moment where he hurt his foot but he stayed in the game). Bryant had so many big shots at the end; he went for 16 points and 10 rebounds. Reaves had a gutsy fourth quarter. He replaced Patrick Beverley (who was a late scratch) in the starting line-up and scored 12. And Dennis Schröder was pretty good in running the offense; he had 12 points and 7 dimes.
The bench wasn’t bad, either. Russell Westbrook went for 9-9-8 (missed his third triple-double of the season) and Max Christie provided some good minutes, scoring 8 points and playing some good defense. Even Damian Jones had a nice stint, slamming in four dunks for 8 points.
As LeBron said at the postgame, “it’s better to be lucky than good.” The basketball gods smiled at the Lakers on Sunday night. And, well, the Wizards aren’t getting love from any god with their 10th straight loss. In any case, the Lakers are 13-16 but they don’t have much time to rest as they are going to play a game on Monday night against the Phoenix Suns. You remember them, right? Patrick Beverley sure does.
Still, it’s a big game. Not only is it a test against one of the better teams in the league but this is a chance to get back to two games under .500, which would be their best record to date this season. It’s gonna be an especially difficult stretch without Anthony Davis so the Lakers just have to keep… pushing.