After suffering their first loss in two weeks on Monday, the Wizards responded in a major way on Wednesday, outplaying the defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers for another big win.
Washington (28-34) put the tough 146-143 overtime loss to the Spurs on Monday in the rearview for a primetime matchup with Los Angeles (36-26) and led by a balanced scoring effort, took the lead in the second quarter and never looked back en route to a 116-107 win.
Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook led the way in the scoring column, as they usually do, however a lot of credit is due to the Washington frontcourt. Matching up with the likes of All-Star bigs Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond as well as last year’s Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell, the Wizards frontcourt of Rui Hachimura, Alex Len and Robin Lopez all stepped up in a big way, helping the team outrebound the Lakers 50-41 and outscoring them 62-54 inside the paint.
After the game, head coach Scott Brooks commended his team’s effort after their loss to the Spurs.
“We’ve been through a lot this year, and there’s no reason for us to stop and relax now,” coach Brooks said. “We’ve got some more in us so we’re just going to keep fighting and playing hard for one another.”
BB had another highly efficient scoring night to lead the way, following up his 45-point outing against San Antonio with 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting. No. 3 is now averaging 31.3 points per game this month on 50/40/89 shooting splits for his most efficient month of the season.
It was business as usual for Westbrook as well, as his 18-point, 18-rebound and 14-assist stat line was his 30th triple-double of the season.
Both teams had success on the offensive end in the first half, with Washington shooting 53 percent from the field behind BB’s 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting. The Wizards looked like the better offensive team in the second quarter though, outscoring the Lakers 30-20 in the period to take a 61-55 halftime lead.
The Wizards extended the lead to 67-59 with the biggest highlight of the night: a Hachimura poster dunk on Anthony Davis after Brad pushed the ball up the court in transition. The Wiz turned that dunk into a momentum swing that sparked an 11-0 run in four minutes that pushed the lead to 16.
The lead got to as high as 19 points early in the fourth, and while the Lakers were able to get the deficit down to single digits with a little over five minutes left in the game, the Wiz never looked threatened. By the time Beal scored his 27th point off a ridiculous side-step three with 3:11 left to go, it was all but over for the Lakers.
The Wizards will look to build a new winning streak with their next game on Friday, April 30 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The game will air at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.