Jordan Poole delivers in Wizards' nail-biting finish

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Coming into the first game of a three-game road stretch, the Washington Wizards looked to get their first win of February in the final game of the month. The struggling Wizards knew they would have to fight hard, coming into the game without their rising star Bilal Coulibaly, who has been out for three consecutive games following a nasty fall on a dunk attempt last Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Poole's quick start keeps the Wizards within striking distance

After their previous matchup against the Golden State Warriors, scoring just 12 points on an inefficient 5-for-17 shooting performance, Jordan Poole was under a microscope coming into the game as fans seek star performances from their star acquisition this past off-season.

Against a tough matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers, Poole got out to a hot start with eight quick points in the first quarter. Tacking on 12 more points in the second, Poole led the Wizards in a close game, going into the half down just one point.

Davis spells disaster for Wizards defense

After the Daniel Gafford trade, the Wizards lack true big men outside of Marvin Bagley III. Against one of the premiere centers in the NBA last night, Davis dominated the game, causing the Wizards' big men to get into early foul trouble and scoring effortlessly against an otherwise undersized lineup. Headed into the fourth quarter down 99-95, the Wizards had allowed Davis 34 points and 11 rebounds, 12 points from free throws alone.

Coming into the fourth quarter, the Wizards knew they had to keep their league-leading pace and score quickly and efficiently if they wanted any chance at coming away with the win. The Wizards did start strong, scoring on fastbreaks and draining threes to crawl back into the game.

Kyle Kuzma stepped up late for the Wizards, scoring a few big baskets in the fourth. Tied with 4.7 seconds left on the clock and the Wizards in possession of the ball, Washington was unable to connect, sending the Wizards and Lakers into overtime on Leap Day 2024.

Wizards unable to put the nail in the coffin

Into overtime, the Wizards' otherwise great game had come to a stalemate. Kuzma scored Washington's 131st and final points with 3:50 left in the overtime period. However, a turnover, missed shots in the paint, and a few poor shot selections left the Wizards scoreless for the remainder of the game, taking the Wizards back to the locker room with their 13th consecutive loss.

134. 20. Final/. 131. 142. Wizards-Lakers 2/29

Although they were unable to secure the win, this game showed many of the Wizards strong suits. Deni Avdija finished the night with an impressive 15 points and 15 rebounds, Jordan Poole had a season-high 34 points paired with 7 assists, and Corey Kispert had his third consecutive 20-point game.

When it comes down to it, this may have been the most impressive performance of the season for an otherwise struggling Wizards squad. Issues we have seen in previous games seemed to not follow into Los Angeles tonight, with a solid selection of shots for the majority of the night.

Quoted in the Wizards' previous press conference following their loss to the Warriors, coach Brian Keefe said "I feel like we played a great 40 minutes, now we just need to play a great 48 minutes." Against the Lakers, the Wizards played a great 48 minutes; the only issue was there were 53 minutes in tonight's game.

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