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Wizards falter in overtime to Lakers, 102-99
Beal scores 28, but poor late game execution downs Wizards
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In a highly-anticipated game in Los Angeles against the Lakers, the Wizards fell short in overtime, 102-99. Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 28 points, leading five players in double figures. In the second of four games out West, the Wizards struggled shooting the ball: 41.1% overall from the field, 23.1% from beyond the arc, and 65.2% from the free throw line.
The Wizards opened the game by missing seven straight shots, but would make five of their next six to tie the game at 13-13 with 4:19 left in the first quarter. Jodie Meeks would catch fire in the second quarter, scoring eight points in a matter of minutes. Meeks and Tim Frazier's five assists led a Wizards' bench which would score 14 points in the second quarter. After a John Wall buzzer beater to conclude the first half, the Wizards took a 49-45 lead into the locker room.
Washington shot 61.1% in the third quarter, scoring 12 points off seven Lakers turnovers. A key 9-0 run anchored by Wall and Marcin Gortat would give the Wizards' their biggest lead of 10. Wall and Beal combined for 19 points and the Wizards led by 10 to close out the third quarter.
After Gortat made a turnaround hook shot with 7:08 to go, the Wizards maintained an 85-75 lead and looked like they had the game under control. But in the next three minutes and 40 seconds, the Lakers used an 8-0 run to tie the game back up at 85-85 with 3:28 to go. Otto Porter Jr., who had missed much of the fourth quarter due to foul trouble, came back into the game after the timeout and gave the Wizards solid defensive possessions. Washington would open up a six-point lead after a Beal layup with 1:48 to go. Nevertheless, the Lakers stormed back and brought the game within one point after a Julius Randle wid open triple with 20.0 seconds left. Beal missed a key free throw to keep the Lakers within two points and 12.1 seconds to go. Brandon Ingram would tip in his own miss with 0.7 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime at 92-92 after a missed fadeaway by Beal in the corner.
"We just didn’t want it. We gave the game away. Just plain and simple,” Beal said postgame. “We were up double digits numerous times and we got to keep attacking, stay aggressive and we didn’t do that. We got lackadaisical."
In overtime, the Lakers had two huge 3-pointers by Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, while the Wizards only made three of eight shots and missed three of their four free throws. The Wizards' inability to knock down important free throws in the fourth quarter and overtime came back to bite them. Randle dunked after the Wizards were unable to foul any of the Lakers with four seconds left. Wall would miss a 27-foot double-clutch 3-pointer as time expired and the Lakers stunned the Wizards for a 102-99 win.
"I don't know who we were tonight, but it wasn't the Washington Wizards," Beal said after the game.
Washington was held to 18 and 13 points in the first and fourth quarters, respectively. The Wizards only played two games last season where they were held under 20 points in multiple quarters, November 11 vs. Cleveland and December 8 vs. Denver.
The pregame hype surrounding John Wall and Lonzo Ball did not end up being one of the key storylines of this game, as Ball would pick up two quick fouls in the first quarter and he didn't end up guarding Wall much the rest of the game. The Lakers decided to put the lengthier Caldwell-Pope on Wall much of the game. The decision was effective, as Wall would finish with 18 points on 7-of-22 shooting and nine assists on the night. Ball, who struggled from the field and only scoring six points, acted as a playmaker with 10 assists and added nine rebounds.
In terms of injuries, Jason Smith returned after hurting his shoulder in the Wizards' home opener and played seven-plus minutes. Kelly Oubre Jr. still started alongside Wall, Beal, Porter, and Gortat and finished with nine points. Unfortunately for the Wizards, Ian Mahinmi sprained his left ankle in the second quarter and was declared out in the third quarter.
After Wednesday night's tough loss, the Wizards will face arguably their toughest game of the season as they travel to face the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on Friday night.