Kyle Kuzma vs. Washington
Kyle Kuzma attempts a hook shot against the Washington Wizards on Dec. 16, 2018.
(Ned Dishman/Getty Images)

Lakers Stunned by Wall, Wizards

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

After pounding Charlotte by 28 the night before, the Lakers ended up on the opposite end of the scoreboard in the nation’s capital.

The Lakers never found a rhythm — unlike John Wall, who dropped 40 points, 14 assists, three steals and two blocks for the home team — as Washington rolled to a 128-110 victory.

Wall sliced up the Lakers (18-12) in the pick-and-roll, while adding in some spectacular plays in transition. He hit 16 shots on 27 attempts for the fifth 40-point game of his career.

But it was more than just Wall, as the Wizards (12-18) had three other players score 20-plus: Bradley Beal (25 points, 12 rebounds), Jeff Green (20 points) and Sam Dekker (20 points).

Spurred by that four-headed monster, Washington led by as many as 27 points.

“If you don’t show up to play in the NBA, you will not win,” coach Luke Walton said. “… I don’t know what it was, but we did not have the proper energy to win an NBA game tonight.”

It was a strange night for the Lakers, who haven’t been susceptible on the second game of a back-to-back this season, entering the night with a 5-1 record on such occasions.

But they were sluggish against a Wizards team that had lost its previous four straight.

Even LeBron James — coming off a triple-double in Charlotte — had little success, scoring 13 points on just 5-of-16 shooting.

Lonzo Ball also had a triple-double in North Carolina, yet he finished with 10 points on a 4-of-11 clip with four assists.

The Lakers were without starting center JaVale McGee, who missed the game due to the flu. Tyson Chandler started in his place, while Moe Wagner played 17 minutes off the bench.

The Lakers’ poor night overshadowed a sizzling performance from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who put up 25 points, five assists and four 3-pointers while shooting 9-of-12 from the field. KCP was excellent in transition, hitting from all over the court and finding open teammates.

Kyle Kuzma had 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting with six turnovers. … The Lakers allowed 66 points in the paint. … L.A.’s starting five — Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, James, Kuzma and Chandler — shot just 2-of-18 on 3-pointers. … Michael Beasley, who has been away from the team due to a family illness, watched the second half from the bench.

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