Final: Wizards 117 - Lakers 107
After dropping the first two games of their west coast trip, the Wizards got back in the win column with a 117-107 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night at Staples Center.
John Wall was tremendous right from the start, tallying nine assists in the first quarter which really set the tone for the night. He finished with 28 points and 14 assists for the game and made all the big plays when the team needed him most.
The Wizards were in command for nearly the entire night and built their lead to as much as 21 in the 3rd quarter. The Lakers would go on a run and get as close to seven in the fourth, but the Wizards would hit free throws down the stretch to seal the deal and notch their 36th win of the season.
After sitting out last night with a back injury, Marcin Gortat returned to the starting lineup and notched a double-double, with 13 points and 13 boards to go along with his five blocks.
Drew Gooden continued his stellar play by tallying his first double-double as a Wizard, finishing with 11 points and 11 boards off the bench.
Bradley Beal finished with 18 points on 4/6 from 3-point range, Al Harrington chipped in with 15 points, Trevor Ariza had 12 points, while Trevor Booker ended with 10. The Wizards had seven players in double figures.
The Wizards finish off their road trip on Sunday when they head to Denver to take on the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center (5pm).
Marcin Gortat will start tonight at center. He missed last night's game with a strained lower back.
And we're back for more Wiz action tonight from the iconic Staples Center in Los Angeles. It still has that special vibe to it, even though the Lakers are in the midst of one of their worst seasons in franchise history.
But as we've mentioned before, the Wizards are in no position to overlook any team and need to come ready to play tonight. If they don't, they'll get beat. This Lakers team recently beat the Blazers in Portland and beat the Thunder here in LA, so they are certainly capable of taking down the top tier teams.
On the injury front, Marcin Gortat is going through his pregame routine and is being called a gametime decision. Based on how he looks, I would say he gives it a go. That will give the Wizards a big boost in the middle, something they missed last night.
For the Lakers, they will be getting both Nick Young and Steve Nash back from injury. Nash will likely be limited to about 10 minutes, but will still have to be someone to watch for as he can still shoot the ball well from the perimeter and is one of the smartest players in the league. Young, as we know from his days with the Wizards, can heat up and be a lethal perimeter shooter and will probably come off the bench for the Lakers. This makes their second unit a bit more dangerous and will be something to watch. Wes Johnson is dealing with a stomach issue and will be out.
The Wizards are still searching for their first win of the west coast trip after they fell to the Kings on Tuesday night and then to the Blazers last night in Portland. On paper, this is a game the Wizards should win, but they'll need to come out and play team defense and 'get dirtier' as Randy Wittman alluded to both last night and during pregame:
We'll be chatting live from Staples Center at 10:30 tonight. See you there.