GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Washington Wizards 19 22 31 31 103
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 35 22 17 26 100

Wizards rally for 103-100 win over Lakers



LOS ANGELES (AP) With Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol returning from injuries and the Washington Wizards owning one of the league's worst road records, it seemed like an easy win was in store for the Los Angeles Lakers.


Trevor Ariza hit a career-high seven 3-pointers on his way to 25 points, and John Wall added 24 points and 16 assists in helping the Wizards rally from an 18-point second-half deficit to win 103-100 on Friday night.

"I've won twice against the Lakers, once at home, and just to come here and win my first game ever at Staples Center is great," Wall said. "We just knew what our team was, we're one of the top defensive teams and when we play defense and play the right way, we have a chance. We just have a lot of heart and character."

Nene scored 15 points and Martell Webster added 13 for the Wizards, who won their second straight while improving to 7-26 on the road.

"It was a colossal win; it's awesome, pure joy," Webster said. "We were down in that first half mainly because we were getting great looks, we just weren't making shots and the resilience on defense was immaculate."

Down 2 points, Bryant missed a short open jumper with 5 seconds to go and Metta World Peace fouled Wall, who made both free throws. After a timeout, Bryant's 3-pointer drew the Lakers to 101-100 with 2 seconds left. But Bryant fouled Wall with 1 second to go, and he again made both.

The Lakers got the ball to Bryant one last time, and he dribbled while being careful not to step out of bounds before launching a 3-pointer from the right sideline that missed as time expired.

"Just rushed it a little bit, didn't know how much time I had to get it off," he said.

Bryant finished with 21 points and 11 assists after missing two games with a sprained left ankle. Dwight Howard added 20 points and 15 rebounds, and Jodie Meeks had 16 points off the bench as the Lakers' seven-game home winning streak ended.

"It's a disturbing loss and we're upset about it," Bryant said. "Our defensive intensity slipped a great deal in the second half and they took advantage of it."

Gasol had four points and eight rebounds playing limited minutes after missing more than six weeks with a right foot injury. He sat most of the fourth and could see what was going wrong.

"We messed up on rotations and left guys wide open. All of a sudden they were in the game," Gasol said. "We stopped hustling on certain plays. You can't allow a guy to take a wide-open shot. It was one thing after another."

The starting lineup of Bryant, Howard, Gasol, World Peace and Steve Nash fell to 0-6 this season. After struggling with injuries, the Lakers are fielding a near-healthy roster with 12 games to play as they fight to hang on to the eighth and final playoff spot.

"I can't explain it, but every time we get up 16, it's like, `Well, we're really good and we don't have to play hard' and we start messing with the game," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. "When you start messing with not moving the ball, messing with `I'm just going to go one-on-one every time,' and you start messing with the basketball gods, they will get you. If we don't change that we obviously won't make the playoffs."

The Wizards' rally that began in the third quarter continued in the fourth, with Ariza's 3-pointer tying the game and his driving layup providing their first lead, 81-79, with 8:52 left.

Bryant scored 10 of the Lakers' first 12 points, with his reverse dunk putting them back in front, 86-83. Meeks hit a 3-pointer off an unlikely assist from World Peace, who missed, grabbed his own rebound and barely kept his balance to stay inbounds before firing to Meeks in the right corner for an 89-86 lead.

Ariza's sixth and seventh 3-pointers twice restored the Wizards' lead to two points.

"We didn't get down on ourselves," he said. "We kept fighting even when we were down early. We just came out, stuck to our game plan and executed."

Washington outscored the Lakers 31-17 in the third to close to 74-72. The Wizards ended on an 11-2 run, with Wall and Ariza scoring all their points.

Bryant scored just four points and had a turnover as time expired.

The Lakers took a 57-41 halftime lead on the strength of an opening quarter in which they shot 68 percent and led by 16 points. The Wizards played them to a 22-22 tie in the second period despite shooting 36 percent.

NOTES: Lakers F Antawn Jamison sprained his right wrist and an X-ray after the game was negative. He will have a MRI on Saturday. He had 11 points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes. ... The Lakers split the season series and fell to 10-3 all-time against the Wizards at Staples Center. ... The Lakers open a four-game road trip at Golden State on Monday. ... Ariza noted his big game came on his son's fifth birthday.

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

View More Photos

Points Ariza (WAS), 25
Rebounds Howard, 15
Assists Wall (WAS), 16
Steals Wall (WAS), 3
Blocks Nene/Seraphin (WAS), 2


Mike D'Antoni:

On what happened in play tonight:
“What happened was we didn’t play hard enough. We think we can just figure stuff out. Trevor Ariza has 12 attempts at three’s and he was wide open. That’s inexcusable. It’s just a matter of glances or gambling or ‘I’m not going to play hard tonight because we’ll just outscore them’. That’s why we dug ourselves a hole in the first part of the year and now we’re digging it again. We put ourselves in a big hole. We’ll talk about it and try to change it around but we have got to have some effort out there.”

On how much it bothers him that this still happens:
“A lot. There’s no explanation for it. I can’t explain it but every time we get up 16, it’s like, ‘well we’re really good’ and we don’t have to play hard and we start messing with the game. When you start messing with not moving the ball, messing with ‘I’m just going to go one-on-one every time’ and you start messing with the basketball gods they will get you. It will roll around and go in for them then it will roll around and go out for us because we’re messing with the game. If we don’t change that, we obviously won’t make the playoffs. But if we do then we’ll get blown out of the playoffs. You can’t be a fairly good team or even a good team without passing the basketball, without understanding what we’re doing defensively and honing in and doing it. You can’t do it.”

On if defense is more important than offense:
“It’s all tied together. It has nothing to do with defense or offense; it has to do with how we approach the game mentally, how we’re playing the game and are we a team or not, are we going to play hard on every possession or not. That’s something we need to learn real quick. We have from now until Monday. We go on the road and we have four games on the road. All of them, we have to win them all. Hopefully we can change it around. They can surprise me, no doubt about it because they have it. They just have to turn it on.”

Kobe Bryant:

On Trevor Ariza and multiple good looks at the basket tonight:
“It’s off of John Wall screen-roll and the ‘big’ rolling to the basket and guards having to help to on that ‘big’ and he did a good job sliding up and making shots.”

On what went wrong tonight:
“They got great penetration and we didn’t do a good job closing out shooters or rotating on the backside.”

On blowing the lead:
“I think their penetration. I think our defensive intensity slipped a great deal in the second half and they took advantage of it.”

On his missed two-point shot that would have tied the game:
“I just rushed it a little bit. I didn’t know how much time I had to get it off and with the dribble and I had to check the line so I had to shoot it a little quicker than I wanted to.”

On tonight’s loss:
“It’s a discouraging loss. We’re upset about it without a shadow of a doubt and we got to go out on the road and pick it back up.”

On his ankle:
“It did alright and I tried to pace it. I didn’t want to push it too much and have it get stiff on me, so I tried to pace it a little bit. I couldn’t really attack as much as I wanted to, but it’s okay.”

Pau Gasol:

On what went tonight:
“We just allowed them I think to get into a rhythm, into a comfort zone. We gave them life and they took advantage of it. We messed up on rotations. We just left guys wide open. Trevor [Ariza] got going, [John] Wall got going and all of a sudden they were in the game.”

On the team’s defense:
“I think we stopped rotating, stopped hustling certain plays and they hit a couple open jumpers just uncontested and those are the type of shots and type of plays that we can’t afford going down the road and against anybody you just can’t allow a guy to take a wide open shot.”

On how his foot held up:
“A little sore, but hopefully it’ll be okay tomorrow and it’ll be better every game and my conditioning will also get better so I can increase my productivity and my minutes.”

On what he was trying to accomplish tonight:
“I’m just trying to move the ball and trying to make the right play as always, and when I had the shots I took them unfortunately I couldn’t make most of them. I just tried to be a factor and tried to get some kind of rhythm and see how it felt.”

Steve Nash:

On giving up an 18 point lead:
“I don’t know. I wish I had the answers for you. Primarily, I would just say that I don’t think we were detail oriented enough in the second half and our shots didn’t go. We lost our rhythm, got a little stagnate and all of a sudden, they got hot. Table turned. I wish I could give you more than that.”

“I thought our pick and roll coverage wasn’t the best as far as getting back to the shooters. Wall is going to cause problems at some point during the night, but I think we have up a lot of looks to Ariza that we should have taken away. But, it is a frustrating game for many reasons and we definitely gave up a lead and a half time lead. That was unacceptable.”

Dwight Howard:

On the second half:
“Ball movement. They did a good job of attacking the basket and kicking out over guys for threes…We have to be able to protect the paint and get out and force them to shoot tough shots. That didn’t happen in the second half.”

“We have to win games. We can’t allow things like this to happen.”

“We didn’t play the same way we played to get the lead. We have to do that every night.”

Randy Wittman:

On tonight’s game:
“I was really not too displeased at half time to be honest with you. They came out of the box hot. You could tell that they’ve had two or three days off, getting everybody back, and they made shots. We missed a lot of wide open shots. We shot the ball not like we’re capable of. I really thought that was it. We saw towards the end of the second quarter that when we got stops we could get out and run. It was hard to play at the pace we wanted when we were taking the ball out of the net. I told them, the last three or four minutes of that second quarter has to be how we play, and we have to start out by getting stops. I said, if we keep running our offense and getting the same shots, you guys are going to knock them down. You’re going to make shots; take the shots, and take them with confidence. That’s what they did, and I’m proud of those guys. They came in here down 18 in the first half, and then to fight like that to give yourselves a chance to win. They made plays at the end. John [Wall] was big, and Trevor Ariza was huge. They were leaving to help a lot and we moved the ball. You have to be able to do that. Both John [Wall] and Nene; when we came to get the ball out of their hands we moved it to the open guy and we made shots coming down the stretch.”

On if tonight’s win was the best of the season:
“We’ve had some good ones. We beat Miami without John [Wall] and Nene. I’m not discounting this one at all. Obviously coming in here and getting a win is always going to be up there.”

On John Wall’s play tonight:
“It’s the pace, and under control pace. We took a couple quick shots, I think, that we probably could have backed out and not shot too quick. He’s just controlling the game. He’s getting the ball up the floor, he’s getting it inside quickly before the defense can get set, he’s attacking gaps before the team can get set, and he’s playing with high confidence. He’s making his shot and he’s taking it with confidence. He’s playing at a high level. I don’t know if anybody is playing at as high a level as John [Wall] is.”

On Kobe Bryant’s play tonight:
“I thought Trevor’s [Ariza] length made him take some tough shots, but the guy is still incredible. He hits that three, we can’t guard it any better, and it goes in. I didn’t look at that last one; I’ve seen him do it too often. He’s the most incredible player at making a shot like he missed at the end, and I didn’t want to hear that crowd.”

John Wall:

On their comeback win:
“One thing coach did a good job of was just telling us get it to like 12 or 10 going into halftime. He told us that we were playing good, we didn’t have too many turnovers tonight and we were playing good, we just couldn’t make shots and they were getting easy shots. They were making tough shots and we weren’t making open shots. Coming out of the 3rd quarter, we just wanted to keep our defense up and running the same plays and same sets. We were able to make shots and make a run and keep getting defensive stops in.”

“It was a great win. I’ve won twice against the Lakers, once at home, and just to come here and win my first game ever at Staples Center is great. Everybody counted us out when they brought Kobe [Bryant] and Pau [Gasol] back tonight. We just knew what our team was, were one of the top defensive teams and we play defense and play the right way, we have a chance. We just have a lot of heart and character.”

On defending Kobe Bryant:
“It was a great team effort but [Trevor] Ariza does a great job whenever someone gets hot. He’s our best defender and does a great job using his length and not going for pump fakes and he played with Kobe [Bryant] for a long time. We just did a great job of helping and just trying to make a read to kick it out to the shooters and make them make tough shots like they did in the first half. We did a great job of that.”

Trevor Ariza:

On his 25 point performance:
“I was getting a lot of open shots for one, knocking them down, and also it’s my son’s birthday, turned 5 today.”

On beating the Lakers:
“We didn’t get down on ourselves. We kept fighting even when we were down early. We just came out, stuck to our game plan, and executed.”

“It’s not really about the team that we play its just getting a win, that’s the most important thing. Of course it’s a good thing to beat the Lakers, or whatever, but it’s better that we got the win.”

Martell Webster:

On the game:
“It was a colossal win; it’s awesome, pure joy. We continue to have each other’s back we can do anything. We were down in that first half, mainly because we were getting great looks, we just weren’t making shots and the resilience on defense was, immaculate. So getting stops and running out on the other end, you know, John [Wall] had a great game, Trevor [Ariza], 7 of 12 from the 3 point line, all big shots, great shots and just continue to fight is the most important thing and we showed that tonight. Walking out here with a win is just the ultimate feeling.”



Posted Mar 21 2013 2:28PM

The Los Angeles Lakers appear close to having their four stars together on the floor again.

Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol could both return from injuries as the Lakers try for an eighth straight home win Friday night against the Washington Wizards.

Los Angeles coach Mike D'Antoni said Wednesday he hopes his two injured stars could play Friday. Bryant missed the last two games and three quarters of another after he sprained his ankle at Atlanta on March 13. Gasol, meanwhile, has sat the last 20 with a torn plantar fascia.

Gasol, Bryant, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash have not played together since Jan. 30 for the Lakers (36-33), who have won 19 of 27 and currently own the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Those four and Metta World Peace have played just 17 games together and not made up the starting lineup since Jan. 20.

"If our minds and hearts are into it, we can be a heck of a team and we can beat anybody," Gasol told the Lakers' official website. "We have too many guys who can put the ball in the hole for us to focus on one or two guys mainly. Once we share the ball and we really want to defend, get back in transition and limit our turnovers, we're a tough team."

Regardless when Gasol returns, D'Antoni said the 7-footer would eventually start alongside Howard. Gasol begrudgingly came off the bench for seven games in January when D'Antoni felt he wasn't completely healthy.

"There were a lot of decisions made when Steve Nash wasn't 100 percent on the floor, when Dwight Howard wasn't 100 percent, when Pau wasn't 100 percent," D'Antoni said. "When they're all 100 percent, it can work."

Playing its ninth game in 14 days, Los Angeles ran out of gas during Monday's 99-76 loss at Phoenix. Nash scored 19 and Howard added 16 with 11 rebounds but the Lakers shot 33.3 percent - their second-lowest effort of the season - and committed 18 turnovers.

"We just hit the wall," Nash said. "With some guys being injured, we've been playing a seven-man rotation and I think it caught up with us a little bit."

Though Howard went 6 of 18 from the field, he's scored at least 16 points six times and averaged 15.1 boards while recording eight straight double-doubles.

The Lakers have averaged 108.8 points and shot 49.0 percent during their longest home winning stretch since a 10-game run last season.

Nash is averaging 18.0 points on 56.5 percent shooting in the last five at Staples Center.

Los Angeles has won four straight at home and 10 of 11 overall against the Wizards (24-43). Bryant scored 30 in the Lakers' 102-96 win at Washington on Dec. 14.

Point guard John Wall was still recovering from an offseason knee injury then, but the Wizards are 19-15 since his season debut. He had 19 points and eight assists as Washington held Phoenix to 33.7 percent shooting to win for the fourth time in five games, 88-79 on Wednesday. The Wizards have allowed fewer than 88 points in half of their last 10 contests.

"Defensively, that's what we take our pride in," said Wall, who is averaging 23.3 points on 57.1 percent shooting and 9.5 assists over the last six games. "When we play defense, we feel we can beat anybody."

Wall had 22 points and 14 assists in his only game against the Lakers at Staples, a 115-108 loss on Dec. 7, 2010.

The Wizards could be without second-leading scorer Bradley Beal (13.9 points per game) after the rookie left Wednesday with a sprained ankle.

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 .
  #15 World Peace SF #9 Webster  
  #6 ClarkPF #42 Nene  
  #12 Howard C #98 Collins  
  #20 Meeks SG #17 Temple  
  #10 Nash PG #2 Wall  

Lakers Kobe Bryant
(severe sprain, left ankle) is questionable.
Pau Gasol
(strained plantar fascia, right foot) is questionable.
Jordan Hill
(torn labrum, left hip/herniated disc) is out.
Dwight Howard
(torn labrum, right shoulder) is probable.

Magic Leandro Barbosa
(torn left ACL) is out.
Emeka Okafor
(flu) is questionable.
A.J. Price
(sore right groin) is questionable.

12/14 - LAL 102 @ WAS 96
03/22 - WAS @ LAL