Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Wednesday evening road contest at Washington, the Lakers looking to bounce back from an overtime loss at Detroit, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Bynum
Wizards: J. Wall, J. Crawford, C. Singleton, T. Booker, J. McGee
6:00 L.A. used its size to draw plenty of early Wizards fouls (four in the first three minutes) and open a 16-13 lead with Gasol’s pretty baseline hook, with the left. It was his second bucket with his left hand in the early goings, routine for the league’s most skilled big man.
4:20 It was a slow shooting start for L.A., however, the road team managing only 1/3 of its first 12 shots before Gasol pulled up for a long two, his third field goal of the game, keeping L.A. up three points.
0:00 Let’s stick with the Spanish theme of the first period, as Gasol capped a strong finish with a transition dunk to make it 29-21 at the break. He added five boards, and helped the Lakers hold Washington to 37.5 percent from the field.
5:41 After really struggling at Detroit, L.A.’s bench was terrific to start the second in D.C., with a rare appearance from Josh McRoberts (who played really well early in the season before spraining his toe) quickly netting an and-1 layup, making it 47-35. He was the fourth bench player to score, with three others hitting a three-pointer apiece (Barnes, Goudelock and Murphy) to surpass the nine bench points against the Pistons.
0:43.7 The bench ended up with 18 points, thanks to a huge hammer alley-oop dunk from McRoberts (Kobe dishing), and Kobe reached 20 points himself with a tough and-1 bucket through traffic, opening a 18-point lead late in the period. The Wizards did get a buzzer-beating 35-footer to fall from Trevor Booker, however, making it a 15-point margin at the break.
9:28 A World Peace three quickly pushed L.A.’s lead to 20, as the Wizards were struggling to defend L.A. from pretty much everywhere. The lead was still at 20 (79-59) three minutes later as Bryant hit an and-1 jumper, reaching 23 points.
4:19 But for the first time of the night, the Lakers relaxed, and Washington took advantage with a quick 4-0 push to force a Mike Brown time out, his team still leading 79-65. His emphasis was simply for his team to keep the ball moving. They’d gotten a bit stagnant as Washington went on a mini run, and Brown directed his comments to Steve Blake, checking in for Fisher, to ensure that ball snapped around and L.A. continued to get good shots.
6:49 Wait a second … what happened to the lead? Washington improbably reeled off a huge run to suddenly take the lead on back-to-back threes to start the fourth, and L.A. had yet to reclaim the lead with 6:49 to go when McRoberts hit 1-of-2 free throws to make it 91-90 Wiz. Definitely a concern for Mike Brown to see his team continually give leads away. Meanwhile, the crowd had entered the fray after largely supporting L.A. all night. Ball movement, or a lack there of, was a problem, as Bynum kept it too long inside (seven of the team’s 12 turnovers) and Bryant forced shots on the perimeter.
5:18 Washington was all in a hurry a confident team, with reserves like Kevin Seraphin connecting on three straight field goals out of seemingly nowhere. Meanwhile, L.A. had dropped all the way to 39.7 percent from the field, Kobe hitting only 8-of-27 before nailing a long three out of a time out to cut a six-point Wiz lead in half. Bynum then added two free throws with 3:20 left to cut the lead to one.
2:51 More Bynum, this time getting a tough hoop to go at the rim to cap a 7-0 run that made it a 99-98 lead for the visitors…. but the Wiz then reeled off yet another run, capped by Nick Young’s jumper with about 40 seconds left.
0:00 L.A. did cut it to three with a pretty play to get Gasol a dunk, but then couldn’t clear a long rebound on Wall’s missed jumper with 15 seconds left, so they had to foul John Wall. This left L.A.’s coaches simply shaking their heads. The Lakers seemed in shock that they blew a 21-point lead to lose at Washington, one of the league’s worst teams, 106-101 after some last-minute free throws. Especially after an OT loss the night before that happened for many of the same reasons. Kobe looked tired all night, hitting only 9-of-31 shots, including 1-of-10 in the fourth quarter. It was to be a long flight to Minnesota for the Lakers in advance of Friday’s game. We’ll see you there.