Video Credit: NBA

New FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Wizards- Game 71

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (30-40) | Washington Wizards (29-40)


Lebron James may have passed Karl Malone in scoring last night, but falling asleep at the wheel in the final minutes led to yet another defeat.


Lakers vs Wizards
Photo Credit: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

Can a struggling team find a way to win two in a row? For the Lakers, two consecutive wins don’t currently seem feasible.  They lose sight of what’s essential, which is winning every night.  Now this game was also the definition of hype, but not being able to hang all the way through can send a promising team into the offseason in mid-April to early May.

Russell Westbrook carried his momentum from the last game into the start of this latest one, leading a 10-3 run for the Lakers.  For the second straight game, the Lakers started on a scoring streak, keeping the Wizards well behind early on.  Injuries are showing up as an issue for Washington right now, with Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma out last night. Kristaps Porzingis was the only all-star on the floor, starting 0-4 before getting one on the board.

Austin Reaves brought it to a 10-point lead with a three before Carmelo Anthony led an 11-3 run.  The Lakers were over 70 percent from the field in the quarter, also locking down the opponent’s offense to take early control.  The Lakers ended the quarter up by 10, looking to keep at it for their second.

Lebron James started the third quarter with seemingly one thing in mind, passing Karl Malone on all-time scoring.  He would get the first 13 points of the second on the board for Los Angeles, draining three from behind the arc.  This brought him within two of the mark, putting the Lakers up 14 points as well.  Kentavious Caldwell-Pope followed by leading a 9-0 run to slow down the aggressive James, bringing the lead back down to single digits.

Allowing the Wizards right back in it was a familiar sign that Laker Nation dreaded seeing, but James soon picked everyone up with a signature layup to pass Malone right after. James finished the half with 23 points. He’s now 2nd all-time behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in career points scored. He received a standing ovation from the away crowd in acknowledgment that having nearly 37.000 points to your name is nothing short of legendary.

The Lakers hung on to their lead by playing as an in-sync team, moving the ball around well.  Wenyen Gabriel has also been a great addition to the lineup in terms of defense, holding the Wizards down nine by the break.  The Lakers have shown signs of late towards being a more formidable opponent, but consistency is always key.  Porzingis was held to just 6 points in the half, so losing that tempo hurt DC in the long run.

James passed Malone as second all-time in points scored in the half with 23 points, leaving the Lakers up 67-58 at the break.


Lakers vs Wizards
Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports

Two buckets by Reaves and Stanley Johnson had the Lakers pulling away more to start the second half.  After James got it back to a 14-point lead, KCP led another run with two from deep, bringing it back to a single-digit lead.  The Wizards couldn’t keep up in the first three quarters, however, sending LA up six into the final quarter.

Something the Lakers have struggled acknowledging all season is the old saying it’s not over until it’s over.  An obvious statement that goes without saying, but things began to slip once again for the Lake Show.

The Wizards started the quarter on a 6-2 run to bring it even closer, but Westbrook answered with an immediate three. Daniel Gafford was 7-9 from the field last night to display heroics for the Wizards, helping Porzingis lead a 9-3 run to tie the game.  Tomas Satoransky was another player that came out of the woodworks to haunt Los Angeles, following by hitting the go-ahead jumper on a night of 17 points. Westbrook would remain efficient from three, getting it right back.

Five lead changes in the final minutes of crunch time left the Lakers unable to pull away when it counted.  The player they locked down all first half, in Porzingis, really began exposing the defense.  He would lead a 14-5 run with 9 points to stun the Lakers, establishing the lead at 8 with under a minute to play.  After a 6-point first half, 21 points in the second half sparked the entire Wizards team to step it up.  The comeback was added to another list of disappointments this season for the Lakers. The game ended with the script completely flipped and another disappointing, but unfortunately not very surprising, loss.


The Lakers head to Cleveland Monday to face the Cavaliers. The game can be seen at 4 p.m. on Spectrum.            

Lakers vs Wizards                         Lakers vs Wizards                           Lakers vs Wizards                           Lakers vs Wizards                           Lakers vs Wizards                         Lakers vs Wizards                           Lakers vs Wizards                           Lakers vs Wizards                                

Duncan Dye – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Duncan on Instagram @duncandyefsm

Follow The Franchise on social media