The Los Angeles Lakers continued finding their rhythm by beating down the Washington Wizards 106-124 at home on March 26.
Neither team entered the game in the playoff race but that didn’t stop the Lakers from getting their first back-to-back win since Jan. 17.
“Nice win for the guys,” Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton said after the home win Tuesday. “We got nice contributions throughout the lineup.”
L.A. tied their season-high in team assists with 37 versus Washington. The Lakers also out-rebounded the Wizards 52-39.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was big part of the Lakers’ 56-67 lead at halftime. K.C.P finished the first half with 19 points including 14 three pointers. He finished the night with 29 points including six three pointers.
“He’s found himself a nice rhythm right now,” Walton said about Caldwell-Pope’s performance. “It’s a lot of fun when he’s out there having these types of shooting nights.”
Beyond K.C.P, the Lakers also found another great performance from JaVale McGee. He finished the night with 20 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks. It was his third game in a row with at least double-figure scoring, four blocks and 13 rebounds.
“Just focus and hard work,” McGee said about his success over the past three games. “My teammates have my back and me having my teammates back.”
LeBron James also cited McGee’s presence in the paint as a reason the team’s offense was moving the ball well the past few nights. L.A. got 23 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds from James in 34 minutes.
“We got stops and we out and ran,” James said about his team’s offensive success. “Then we were able to break the defense down in the half court, we were able to find shooters.”
Otherwise, James admitted about the difficulty mentally preparing for games when his team is out of the postseason race.
“It’s been difficult in between days,” James told the media after the game. ” Can’t sit here and lie. Knowing, mathematically, we won’t be in the postseason.”
However, James also said that once the game is here and he is healthy, it is all business.
“I never change my approach,” James said. ” I go out and try to make plays happen.”
Still, the Wizards never packed it in despite neither team offering much defensive resistance. Washington got as close as eight with at about the seven minute mark.
Wizards head coach Scott Brooks named James’ passing, K.C.P’s hot hand and his team’s lack of ability to make shots as reasons they lost.
“Bottom line, we weren’t good enough tonight,” Brooks said after the road loss. “They were better than us.”
Bradley Beal came up big for Washington in the second half. The All-Star registered 17 points in the third quarter alone after scoring only 11 in the first half.
“I just wanted to be aggressive, more aggressive than I was in the first half.” Beal said after the game.
The Wizards guard was the only starter in double-digit scoring. Beal finished with 32 points and five rebounds.
Otherwise, Bobby Portis added 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Jabari Parker finished with 18 points and five rebounds off the bench too.
For the Lakers, Moritz Wagner had 11 points in 12 minutes off the bench. Lance Stephenson also scored seven points as a reserve. However, it was his 10 rebounds and viral crossover of Jeff Green in the first half that really earned him attention in this contest.
L.A. will try to string together another consecutive win versus the West’s No.6 seeded Utah Jazz on March 27 at 7:30 P.M. PST.