Los Angeles Lakers survive 4th quarter surge from Wizards, final score: 102-96

Rob Carr

The Lakers snap a four game losing streak and escape Washington D.C. with their 10th win of the season.

The Los Angeles Lakers won a game of professional basketball for the 10th time this season; welcome to the double digit club ladies and gents. Some Jodie Meeks heroics and 29 Kobe Bryant field goal attempts later, and the purple and gold walked away with a much needed victory over the Washington Wizards. Final score, 102-96.

It wasn't a pretty game by any means. The Lakers went in starting Devin Ebanks at... power forward... as Jordan Hill was suffering from back issues of his own and wound up being held out of the game. Antawn Jamison was frozen out, only playing six minutes, while Robert Sacre saw plenty of time on the floor as Dwight Howard found himself in foul trouble throughout the game. The lineups that Mike D'Antoni had at his disposal were limited in talent, to say the least, yet it was still enough to take down the Wizards who were riding Cartier Martin's hot hand. When the Lakers put together this unit it's fair to say that we weren't having glittering visions of Darius Morris, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Devin Ebanks, and Robert Sacre playing extended minutes.

But they did. And the Wizards kept forcing the issue. Kept hanging on with Cartier Martin's shooting (21 points). Or Kevin Seraphin's work on the offensive glass (4 offensive rebounds). Or Nene would put in just enough work off the bench (17 points in 22 minutes).

Jodie Meeks would have none of it though as he shot the ball with the kind of confidence even Kobe Bryant has to appreciate. Meeks ended the night with 24 points on 9-14 shooting (4-7 from deep) and continues to show the kind of effort that severely lacks in these Lakers far too often. Meeks has had an up and down season thus far; at times filling up on points and at other times flailing like a drunken Uncle around the rim, but his shooting stroke is exactly what the Lakers were looking for when they had him sign his name on the contract. Clearly his ability to stretch the floor will be key in the Lakers long term success, and tonight, was the key in surviving a team with only three wins on the season.

The Wizards made a valiant effort and fought back into a game that they should have had no business being in. They surged in the 4th quarter, outscoring the Lakers 27-19. Yet, there Kobe was, doing Kobe things. With just under 1:30 left in the fourth and a cozy 7 point lead Dwight Howard missed his 2nd free throw. Kobe shot the attempt and found himself an offensive rebound and put back, sealing a game that was locked away. The Black Mamba slithered in and ate the key. Bryant ended the night with 30 points on 9-29 shooting with 7 rebounds and 7 assists to go along with it. *Gasp* Kobe scored 30 and the Lakers won on one of his most inefficient nights of the season.

Dwight Howard still seems entirely disengaged on the offensive side of the ball and remains spotty in regards to the defense in which he must anchor. He had 14 rebounds, but only 8 field goals (12 points on the night). Also, a recurring issue with Dwight is the turnovers, in which he had 4 of tonight.

At this point in the season though a win's a win and beggars mustn't be choosers. A day off tomorrow and the final game of this road trip in Philly to face the Bynum-less 76ers on Sunday. Full recap in the morning. Dwight free throw assists for now.

- Drew

- Follow this author on Twitter @BallReasons

- Check out our Wizards blog with SB Nation as they continue to find a way to get through a very rough season.

- Buy Los Angeles Lakers Tickets click here




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