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New FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Wizards- Game 66

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (29-37) | Washington Wizards (29-36)

 

The second 50-point performance by Lebron James this week had the Lakers riding high last night, defeating the Wizards 122-109.

 

Lakers vs Wizards
Photo Credit: Ashley Landis/AP

One thing is for certain in the NBA today; LeBron James is still on that elite level. Both teams had been struggling heading into last night, but one dominant performance was the difference.

James hit a three to start the scoring, while the Lakers went 5-5 on their first possessions. Corey Kispert cut it to 1 with a bucket from deep, before James and Carmelo Anthony led a 16-6 run. It gave them a commanding 9-point lead, shooting 4-7 as a team from behind the arc.

The Laker offense went the entire quarter without turning the ball over and their flawless ball-handling shut the Wizards‘ defense down early. Washington began to figure it out on both sides at the end of the quarter, however. The Laker defense got caught lacking for just over a minute, allowing a 9-0 run to tie it up going into the second.  Things had just gotten started for both sides, but letting Washington right back in the game was unacceptable.

There were 6 lead changes to start the second, with Kispert and Kristaps Porzingis waking up for the Wizards.  They combined for 21 points in the half, carrying an offense that shot 45 percent early.  Malik Monk gave Los Angeles their last lead of the half with a three, before former Lakers Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led a 9-2 run.

The Wizards were up by 7 by the end of the quarter, as the Lake Show began to slow down.  Four of their five starters shot over 50 percent, but 1-9 shooting from Russell Westbrook held them back.  He turned away key possessions pulling up for jumpers, while the Wizards rebounded well with 59 in the half and 25 from the bench. It led them to 14 second-chance points by their first-half offense.

Lebron James had 17 at the half, but the team as a whole struggled offensively.  While they only had 3 turnovers by the break, they shot 41 percent due to poor decision-making and shot selection.   The Wizards are in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, they need every win they can get at this point.  The pressure was on both sides heading into the second half.

The Lakers only had 3 turnovers in the first half, but 1-9 shooting from Westbrook had them down 59-52.

 

Lakers vs Wizards
Photo Credit: Ashley Landis/AP

Porzingis got a shot up for Washington to start the second half, but that’s when Lebron James began to step up.  He would lead an 18-6 run, scoring 11 with two threes.  The Lakers got the lead back quickly and efficiently, with 19 points in the quarter for JamesWestbrook had 4 assists in the quarter, as he began to focus on his passing game due to a tough night shooting.

The Lakers were up 7 going into the fourth, thanks to five quick points by Wenyen Gabriel before the buzzer.  He’s a new addition to the roster along with D.J. Augustin and had himself a great couple of drives.

The Wizards got it within three early in the quarter, but the Lakers would take control from there.  “We were able to fight, able to defend, and I was able to get on a hot streak there“, Bron stated after the game.  He led a dominant fourth quarter with 14 points to get to 50 on the night, reaching that mark with a distant three.  He knocked down six from deep last night, shooting 18-25 overall.

Talen-Horton Tucker also contributed to the quarter with a highlight spin around slam dunk off the dribble, finishing the night with 15.  The Lakers continue to miss Anthony Davis, but Monk stepping up last night with 5-7 behind the arc was another great sign.  James has reached 50 in the last two Laker wins. Outside of Westbrook, the offense showed their ability to respond to an elite performance like that.

James shook Kuzma’s hand as the game concluded, reminiscing of their 2020 days.  The anticipated win was in the books for the Lakers, with the home crowd raining MVP chants.

 

The Lakers travel to Phoenix to take on the Suns Sunday. The tip-off is slated for 6:00 PM and can be seen on Spectrum.          

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Duncan Dye – Franchise Sports Media

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