The Wizards started the game fast, but couldn’t outrace the Lakers, who were happy to match them step for step n an uptempo game. The Wizards went into halftime down by three after giving up 58 points on 47.9 percent shooting in the first half, but that was just a small taste of what the Lakers had prepared for the third quarter.
Los Angeles scored 37 points and made their last 15 shots of the quarter as they jumped out to a double-digit lead.
But once the Wizards survived the third quarter onslaught, it was all Washington the rest of the way. They outscored the Lakers 37-13 in the final quarter, as they ramped it up defensively and finally started connecting from long distance to quickly erase the deficit and pull away late to help reach several key milestones for the franchise.
Thanks to the win, ensured they’ll have home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs and clinched their first division title since 1979.
The bench of both worlds
The bench’s performance in this one was a microcosm of their performance for the season as a whole. They got to enter the game early after the starters helped the Wizards take a double-digit lead, but quickly blew that lead and gave the Lakers the momentum they’d ride throughout the second and third quarters to take a big lead in the third quarter.
But then when they came back into the game late in the third quarter, they made the key plays to turn the tide. Ian Mahinmi disrupted things inside after the Lakers had owned the paint for most of the game, Jason Smith knocked down some key shots, and Kelly Oubre came through with smart plays in transition and hit a key bucket to put the Wizards up by five with 1:45 left in the game.
This game was a reminder of what the Wizards can be when things are clicking, and why we still hold our breath most of the time when they’re on the floor.
Your daily reminder that John Wall is on a different athletic level than the rest of us
There are very few seven-footers who could generate enough power to dunk like that with so little buildup, much less point guards. John Wall is just absurd. It’s no surprise he was able to get a double-double in the first half of this one.