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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 31 27 25 19 102
Play by Play Washington Wizards 25 30 14 27 96
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Bryant's 30 points help Lakers edge Wizards 102-96

By HOWARD FENDRICH


Posted Dec 14 2012 9:29PM

WASHINGTON (AP) Straining to work out the kinks in an offense coach Mike D'Antoni compared to dancing with two left shoes, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers even struggled to put away the Washington Wizards.

A night after joking about wanting to face the Washington Generals, the Harlem Globetrotters' longtime foils, Bryant scored 30 points, and reserve Jodie Meeks added 24, helping the Lakers beat the Wizards 102-96 on Friday to end a four-game losing streak.

Slowed by foul trouble, Dwight Howard finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds, and the Lakers improved to 10-14. Cartier Martin scored a season-high 21 points for Washington, which fell to an NBA-worst 3-17.

Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited



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Points Bryant, 30
Rebounds Howard, 14
Assists Bryant , 7
Blocks Howard, 4
Steals Meeks/World Peace, 3
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D'Antoni:

On finally getting a win:
“We did it. We won one. I thought for the first three quarters our rhythm was really good. I thought we were playing the way we talked about. Then the fourth quarter we didn’t. We were up 16 points, but then they hit a couple of threes and we risked losing it (rhythm).”

On recent frustrations:
“I thought our recent lackadaisical, lethargic play always happens. I was trying to make sure they understand what I want. We’re not there yet. We’re not even close to being a good team, but we have had signs and I hope we can build on that. We’re going to Philadelphia and we’ve got to get one more. The most irritating thing was that we got away from what we were doing. We started thinking instead of playing. I told them at halftime that we’re not a good enough team to just have two minutes where we just kind of rest. It’s all about them getting used to the system. Again, we’re changing a lot. We’re changing habits that were ingrained in a lot of players. And we’re doing all of this without a training camp. That’s an excuse, but that’s where we are. We will attack it every day with film and talking. We’ll work on it.”

On the recent play of Jodie Meeks:
“Jodie has been a surprise for me. He’s been playing well with his energy. Everybody has that in them. He plays with energy and he plays hard.”

On Kobe playing a high amount of minutes:
“Part of it was not letting his back tighten up, but the other part is that he’s good. He told me he wasn’t tired. We needed a win though. We’ll figure out the rest of that stuff. We do watch his minutes as we go, but as soon as we get some guys back we’ll manage his minutes hopefully.”




Kobe Bryant:

On getting the win:
“It’s been a minute, but it feels good. We had better ball movement tonight. We moved the ball very well. Guys took shots that were available. Jodie (Meeks) just played lights out. Metta (World Peace) played well. Devin Ebanks came in and played well. That’s what happens in this system, we just continue to move the ball and guys continue to attack.”

On the team’s defensive effort tonight:
“We talked about just getting back in transition. That’s really been our Achilles heel. We did a good job tonight. They got back in the game by us turning the ball over. That led to points for them. We kind of seized the momentum and came back in the second quarter and got it back.

On their offensive strategy tonight:
“We just read the defense and what they were doing. If they’re going to come down and double like that, then we’ll just kick it and move the ball to get penetration. That’s what we’re trying to do; just change sides of the floor and get penetration.”

On playing a high amount of minutes:
“I’m just not tired. I’m sore, but I’m just in really good condition. I’m just not tired. If you have the opportunity during the game to sit me, then sit me, but I’m not tired.”

On playing in Philadelphia Sunday:
“It’s always special. I’ve always enjoyed it. It’s always been fun. Now, it becomes a little bit more significant. It’s coming to an end.”

On Jodie Meeks’ play:
“He was just extremely aggressive. He doesn’t shy away from contact. He loves taking challenges defensively. He always stays in front of guys. He’ll have games like that consistently.”




Dwight Howard:

On getting over the hump tonight:
“We did a good job tonight of sharing the ball. We moved the ball around the perimeter, threw it to the post. We just got to build off that. We have to play inside out. We want to run, but as old as we are, it’s going to be tough for us to run. In basketball years I’m old. But when we play inside out we get easy shots, so we just have to continue to find a balance.”

On his key offensive rebounds in the end:
“I just try to stay active. The shot went up, I try to get myself into a position to get a rebound.”

On his foul trouble:
“I was worried. I picked up some tonight that had me a little frustrated. I just try to stay as aggressive as I can without picking up a foul.”

On their next opponent, the 76ers, not liking the Lakers:
“Philly fans have always been great to me, but I understand. We’re like the most loved and hated team in the world. It should be fun. It’s gonna be an exciting game. They got a lot of young guys who can really put up points, so it’s gonna be tough. But if we come there and play the right way, we should win.”




Metta World Peace:

On Jodie Meeks:
“It’s a team game. Somebody’s got to get the points. And the Lakers’ organization did a good job putting this team together. They put some really good players in this organization. We’ve got Meeks, Antawn Jamison, (Chris) Duhon and all of these other great players. People should not be surprised when we play together of the outcomes. You never know who’s gonna get 20. That’s how it’s supposed to be.”

On the Lakers’ effort:
“When you play together offensively the other team gets worn out. Everybody’s working. I know you’ve ran the treadmill before, when you run you get tired. If you don’t run you have energy. So, we’re making them work, they get tired collectively and now they’ve got to come back on offense and try to use their legs and be mentally tough enough to make a shot. Whereas when they have the energy it’s a little easier. So offense is our best defense.”

On teammates playing many minutes:
“For me, it’s more still sticking together, and playing together and moving the ball moving our bodies and wearing the other team out. That’s all that’s on my mind. I don’t care how many minutes guys are playing back-to-back, whatever. We’re at a point now where we just have to continue to move on, run coach’s offense.”




Randy Wittman:

On what stood out:
“The start of the third quarter really stood out to me. The 12 turnovers we had in the first quarter also hurt us and gave them some free opportunities. They also went 10-0 on us which caused us to have to play catch-up a little bit. But for the most part I liked the way we forced Kobe to take 29 shots for 30 points. Dwight, I think we did a good job battling him…I think we did a good job staying with them.”

On mistakes during the game:
“We have to give them [Lakers] some credit on that. We had six turnovers at the half from our bigs because they were trapping them and we couldn’t handle that very well. We had the ball stolen out of the traps a couple of times and when that happens, our big men would make long passes that would get intercepted. We shot well in the first half and then the second half we shot 34%. That’s what I think hurt us.”

On Cartier Martin:
“He doesn’t come out of nowhere; he’s been struggling a little bit shooting the ball but he came out tonight and made it. I have confidence in this guy. He will have every opportunity again to come out in Miami and do things. I think Cartier and Martell both offensively and defensively did well. Martell did a good job forcing Kobe to take difficult shots with his length. Its good for Cartier to see he can come out of a shooting slump.”




Bradley Beal:

On the game:
“They got the best of us tonight. We had a great opportunity to get the win, things just didn’t fall our way at the end of the game. We had good looks at the basket, but they just didn’t fall for us. We have been through this before; although it’s frustrating it’s a learning curve. The defensive intensity was good late in the game, but we need four solid quarters of that same intensity.”

On playing against Kobe:
“He was simply the aggressor pretty much the whole night. He slowed the game down and played at his own pace. Kobe (Bryant) made tough shots, and when he didn’t connect from the field he made his free throws. That’s what the greats do, and at this point of his career he can still put the ball in the basket.”

On the traveling call:
“I wanted to shoot it, and I shot it before I even looked. When I left the floor to release my shot I noticed a defender coming right at me. There was no way I could have got the shot off, and that’s what led to the travel.”




Cartier Martin:

On the game:
“We played a good game; unfortunately we didn’t play two strong halves of basketball. Our shots didn’t fall when we needed them too. The defense picked up, but the Lakers made tough shots. That’s something that you can live with because the intensity remained even when we were down.”

On Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard:
“Dwight (Howard) is a force down low, and Kobe got hot from the perimeter in the second half. They starting feeding the ball inside to Dwight and that hurt us. Of course we fouled him, but he even knocked down a few crucial free throws late in the game. The key is to stay consistent and play two good halves of Wizards basketball.”




Martell Webster:

On the end of the game:
“In order for us to take the next step we have to understand time, score, and situation. You can’t force opportunities; opportunities are things that will present themselves. We did that a couple of times tonight. We have to go focus on Miami, got them tomorrow. Go focus and get a win.”

On Kobe Bryant:
“The goal with a high-caliber player like that who gets a lot of repetitions up is to contain him and hope that he takes a bad contested jump shot. He (Kobe Bryant) didn’t score 30,000 points for nothing. You know that’s one of those things, you have to come in focused on keeping him front of you and try to have him shoot over a hand every time he shoots the ball.”

On Jodie Meeks:
“He’s a quick shooter and when you put Dwight (Howard) and Kobe in the post and get him spotting up on the opposite side, he’s got a direct line of vision with the person in the post and once that ball comes out he only needs a fraction of the second to get it up. He even shot it a couple times with guys right in his face. That’s why he is on that team, because he is a great shooter.”

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LAKERS-WIZARDS PREVIEW

By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN

Posted Dec 14 2012 12:59AM

Kobe Bryant would like to see the Los Angeles Lakers play the Washington Generals next.

That won't happen but they will instead see the league's worst team that hails from the nation's capital.

The struggling Lakers have been defenseless during a four-game losing streak heading into Friday night's road matchup with the Washington Wizards.

The Lakers (9-14) fell 116-107 at New York on Thursday, allowing the Knicks to shoot 53.2 percent for the third-highest mark against them. They yielded 68 first-half points, and have given up an average of 62.3 during this slide.

"We are having a re-occurring theme that the first quarter is just not good, and then the first half is not great and in the second half we seem to turn it on, and we need to solve that problem real quick," coach Mike D'Antoni said.

Bryant scored 31 points and leads the NBA with 29.3 per game, but Los Angeles fell to 1-11 when he scores at least 30. The Lakers are trying to avoid their first five-game skid in two seasons.

"At this point I wish we had the Washington Generals on our schedule," Bryant said.

If the Lakers want to show improvement on defense, Friday presents an ideal opportunity. Washington (3-16) is last in the NBA in scoring at 90.4 points per game and field-goal percentage at 40.7.

Los Angeles had won nine straight in this series before a 106-101 defeat in the lone meeting last season March 7.

There's reason to believe that Dwight Howard, who had 20 points and seven boards Thursday, can turn in a monster effort. Howard is averaging 24.3 points on 73.4 percent shooting and 13.4 rebounds per game in his last nine against the Wizards - all victories when he played for Orlando.

Lakers forward Pau Gasol has missed the past six games with tendinitis in his knees and remains day-to-day. Former Wizards captain Antawn Jamison has started five times in his place, and finished with three points Thursday.

Los Angeles is 2-8 on the road while Washington owns the NBA's worst home mark at 2-7.

Still, the Wizards have won three times since their 0-12 start and are eager to take advantage of the Lakers' woes.

"Everybody knows they've been kind of struggling and we look forward to take advantage of that," Washington reserve guard Shaun Livingston said. "You got to come to play and we're at home and we tend to play well at home so hopefully we can come in with a lot of momentum."

The Wizards fell 99-93 at Houston on Wednesday, although their backcourt of Jordan Crawford and rookie Bradley Beal combined for 37 points.

There are signs that Crawford and Beal are gelling. Crawford is averaging 19.5 points over his last eight games while Beal is averaging 17.5 over his last four.

"He is being more aggressive and that's the main thing," said Crawford about Beal. "He's not passing up as many shots as he was early and just being aggressive. We both have good size and we both kind of do the same thing, shooting and driving. We play off each other real well."

Howard, meanwhile, averaged just 9.3 points in three meetings against the Knicks while with Orlando last season.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Probable Starters .
  Lakers    
  #15 World Peace SF #31 Singleton  
  #27 HillPF #9 Webster  
  #12 Howard C #50 Okafor  
  #24 Bryant SG #3 Beal  
  #21 Duhon PG #15 Crawford  


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Lakers Steve Blake
(abdominal surgery) is out.
Pau Gasol
(tendinitis, left and right knees) is out.
Jordan Hill
(herniated disc/sprained right wrist) is probable.
Steve Nash
(non-displaced fracture, left leg) is out.
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Magic John Wall
(stress injury, left patella) is out.
Trevor Booker
(strained right knee) is out.
Trevor Ariza
(strained left calf) is out.
A.J. Price
(fractured right hand) is out.
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12/14 - LAL @ WAS
03/22 - WAS @ LAL
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