Even though they made it a lot more difficult than it should’ve been, the Washington Wizards picked up a relatively easy win on the road tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers, 117-107.
John Wall scored a game-high 28 points and also dished out 14 assists. He had 9 assists in about the first 10 minutes and it looked like the Wizards were going to pull away. Despite the hot start, the Lakers chipped away at the lead as Nick Young and Steve Nash led the way off the bench. Young scored 21 points in just 26 minutes of action, while Nash handed out 11 assists in his first time coming off the bench since 2000. Wall eventually checked back into the game and helped close it out with a few tough jump shots. I thought he did a great job at mixing it up offensively with drives and pull up jump shots inside the three point line. Nash and Kendall Marshall aren’t known for their defense and it definitely showed tonight. Wall got whatever shot he wanted offensively.
Wall’s back court mate, Bradley Beal, also took advantage of Los Angeles’ poor defense. He started the game off well, knocking down two three point shots in the first quarter and finished the game with 18 points including 4-6 from three. I would’ve liked to have seen him drive to the basket more, but he was getting good looks for the most part. Again, the Lakers give up a ton of open shots so I can’t complain about Beal taking the majority of his shots outside the paint tonight.
Besides Wall and Beal, the Wizards also got some note worthy contributions from their bench, particularly the ‘AARP squad’. Al Harrington and Drew Gooden combined for 26 points and 14 rebounds off the bench and really helped stabilize Washington when it looked like their lead would slip away. Harrington knocked down a few three point shots and Gooden continued to hit his patented mid-range shot throughout the game. Gooden was ejected in the fourth quarter after getting tangled up with Nick Young in the paint. Young shoved Gooden while he was on the ground, but Gooden was still thrown out of the game even though he didn’t initiate the scuffle. Jordan Hill was also ejected for going at it with Marcin Gortat, who returned to the lineup after missing last night’s game with a back issue.
Washington has to win games they’re supposed to win on paper, so it’s good to finally see them close games out on the road. Los Angeles is really, really bad and a loss would’ve hurt at this point in the season. John Wall looked like a superstar tonight and the Lakers had no answer for him in the entire game.
The Wizards will be back on the road on Sunday night against the Denver Nuggets. They’ll need to get the win in order to finish the west-coast trip with an even win-loss record.