Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Wizards – Game 29

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (13-16) | Washington Wizards (11-20)

 

Despite not having AD, the Lake Show worked together as a team to defeat the Washington Wizards 119-117.

 

Lakers vs Wizards
Photo Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP

Unfortunately, there was no further update on Anthony Davis’ foot. He’ll be further examined by doctors after the game, Darvin Ham told reporters. Ham pointed to the “next man up” mentality and knows it’ll take many players to try and fill in for all that Davis does. Patrick Beverley was ruled out for this one due to right calf soreness, while Scotty Pippen Jr. was made available as he was called up from the South Bay Lakers.

Lakers forward Juan Toscano-Anderson was still out with a right ankle sprain, as was Wenyen Gabriel with a left shoulder sprain. However, Gabriel is close to returning, per the Lakers.

Luckily for the Wizards, Bradley Beal, who missed Washington’s last six games after he suffered a right-hamstring strain last time out against the Lakers, returned and played against the Lake Show.

The starters vs. Washington were Dennis Schröder, Austin Reaves, Lonnie Walker IV, LeBron James, and Thomas Bryant.

Beal looked like he didn’t skip a beat as he sifted through the Laker defense for a smooth right-handed layup. Bryant got things going with a score inside off the glass. If he were looking to fill the large shoes of AD, we would need more of that from him. Bryant kept it going with an assist to Reaves for three, showing patience as he nabbed the offensive rebound and waited for his teammates to get into position.

The king needed to stay aggressive offensively with no Davis, and he did so as he attacked the Wizards in transition for the layup. Reaves’ confidence seemed sky high as he had already made his second three of the game, taking a 14-12 lead with 6:43 left in the first quarter.

James came out of the first timeout as a man on a mission, scoring back-to-back buckets all on his own. Bryant tried to stay locked in but struggled to finish at the rim twice in a row, as Kristaps Porzingis was there to quell him both times. No disrespect to Bryant, but he’s not the answer. A trade needs to be made by Lake Show management.

Jordan Goodwin got on the board as he scored in transition with three Laker defenders trailing closely behind him. Max Christie stepped up for a three to tie the game up at 23-23. The future looks bright for him, especially after he got another score, this time inside, as he drove to the rim and finished over Porzingis.

Damian Jones subbed in for Bryant, and Russell Westbrook gave him a pretty dump-off pass, but of course, Jones isn’t AD either, and he missed the layup terribly. Almost on cue, Westbrook had back-to-back plays of lousy offense, beginning with a jumper that hit the top left corner of the basket and a turnover as he tried to lob it up to Jones. Sandwiched between those plays was an immaculate block off the rim by Christie, the rookie can ball.

To end the first, Westbrook made up for those bad plays by drawing the goaltending call to take a 30-29 lead. The Wizards were mainly in this one because of their efforts at the free-throw line. They were 5-6, while the Lake Show was yet to shoot one.

Daniel Gafford began the second quarter with a massive dunk over Christie but came down the wrong way on his ankle and gave up a dunk to Jones. Expectedly, Gafford was on the ground in pain, and the Wizards promptly called a timeout. Gafford would return later in the game.

James lulled the defense to sleep with a series of stationary dribble moves, enabling a lob pass to Jones for the dunk, which was reminiscent of AD; we’ll give them that. James then came right back down to break Taj Gibson down for the pull-up jumper.

After another lob dunk, this time from the king, the Lake Show went up by their most significant margin of eight to take a 47-39 lead with 7:05 left in the second quarter. With those series of plays, Ham opted to give James a rest. Whenever he goes out, production usually slows, and things get sloppy. However, Westbrook kept it afloat with yet another lob to Jones for an empathic finish.

Beal had to get things going before this one got out of hand, and he did so as he danced with Bryant, hit the step back, and drained the jumper for two. But the Lake Show kept the pressure on and forced a turnover, leading to a transition dunk for Bryant. Walker IV stayed aggressive as he came off a screen and attacked Beal for the layup.

 

At halftime, the Lake Show led 66-52. James led the way with 15 points on 7-11 from the field. The Lakers were ahead thanks to a large part of them making shots. They were 55.1% overall, 54.5% from three, and 85.7% from the free throw line, all while holding the Wizards to just 18.2% from three.

 

Lakers vs Wizards
Photo Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP

To open the second half, James drove right and converted the and-1 layup as he fell to the floor, swearing after he landed as he’ll probably wake up this morning with a slight bruise. However, the Wizards came out focused as they cut the Lakers’ halftime lead by half to trail 67-60 with 9:10 left in the third quarter, but Bryant made sure to steal the momentum with back-to-back dunks to get the crowd on their feet.

At this point, however, both teams were battling, as Porzingis drilled a three to cut the lead to six. Walker IV ran in transition to throw down a ferocious one-handed jam, he’s a complete player, and the Lakers commentators were right when they said that he’s just too athletic to be shooting threes.

Another misfortune for the Lake Show as Reaves seemed to turn his ankle on Gafford’s foot and came back up hobbling. He limped straight to the locker room. Westbrook kept it pushing with a shovel pass to Walker IV for another transition finish. But of course, the third-quarter woes finally afflicted the Lake Show, and the Wizards took the lead at 86-84 after going on an 11-0 run in less than two minutes.

Westbrook tried to end the drought by elevating and nearly throwing down a poster over both Porzingis and Gafford. That would’ve been the dunk of the year, but it ended up being just one made free throw. Walker IV ran in transition once again and threw down a two-handed flush to score the first Laker field goal in nearly three minutes.

Heading into the fourth quarter, the Lake Show was now down 88-87. They were outscored 36-21 in the third quarter, and they gave up another score, this time to Corey Kispert for three to begin the fourth. The Wizards went on a 7-2 run to take their largest lead of the game at 95-87.

Reaves reentered the game and was said to be fine heading in, but after LA was able to tie the game at 95, Reaves headed out of the game to be re-evaluated. James took the lead with a three, even after Porzingis switched off with Will Barton. No one was stopping Bron’s signature shot, even if you knew it was coming.

Reaves returned to the bench once again and was available to return. More misfortune for the Lake Show as Walker IV was slow to get up after a collision on the perimeter, and there was a time-out with Washington back in front at 100-98 after a 5-0 run. Reaves ended up being subbed in for the SkyWalker.

Washington took advantage of the flurry of injuries for the Lakers as Beal threw up a lob to Gafford for the dunk. Schroder drove at Porzingis and kicked out to Bryant for a three to take the lead with less than six minutes left. James cherry-picked just a bit to ensure that he would have a clean look at the bucket and ended up trucking Gafford for the and-1 layup to take a four-point lead.

Bryant would hit another three off the same play they ran just minutes before. The Lake Show had all of the momentum with four minutes remaining. However, Schroder would foul out as Goodwin converted the and-1 floater to bring the game within two points. Walker IV would return in place of Schroder.

Reaves would score back-to-back floaters right back despite being hobbled by an ankle injury to force Washington into a timeout. The Lake Show led at 115-111 with 1:17 remaining. However, it was a Gafford put-back dunk and a Beal jumper to tie the game, but the king was given a wide-open lane for a sweet one-handed jam to retake the lead with just 27.3 seconds left.

Beal was fouled and tied the game at 117-117. The Lake Show was left with 23.3 seconds. James got the ball at the top of the key and was doubled by the Wizards, which worked at first as James threw a bad pass and nearly lost it, but he was able to recover the ball and get it to Bryant for the game-winning dunk. The final score read Lakers 119, Wizards 117.

Key Takeaways

 

Lakers vs Wizards
Photo Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP

The king finished with 33 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists. Walker IV was productive with 21 points on 7-12 from the field. Bryant filled in for AD nicely with 16 points and ten rebounds. Schroder and Reaves combined for 24 points. Troy Brown Jr. was a team-worst -12, while Reaves was a team-best +15.

Beal did all he could with 29 points but was held to 0-3 from three. Kuzma balled out with 22 points and 16 rebounds but was held to 3-9 from three. Porzingis did his thing with 21 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists but was held to 2-9 from three.

Ham, after a big sigh of relief, “I’m just happy to get this W. It’s hard to win in this league.” Ham also told reporters that there would be a status update on Davis the following morning.

 

The Lakers will now travel to Phoenix, Arizona, to take on the Phoenix Suns. They’ll face off Monday, December 19th, at 6:00 p.m. PT at the Footprint Center. The game will be available on Bally Sports Arizona, NBA TV, and Spectrum SportsNet.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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