After nearly coming all the way back from a 21-point deficit Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics, the Los Angeles Lakers came into Thursday’s game with heavy legs, and it showed as L.A. gave up 69 points in the first half of their 111-95 loss to the Washington Wizards.
The Lakers (5-7) headed into Thursday’s game ranked top-five in defensive efficiency, but the Wizards’ three-headed monster featuring Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the game’s leading scorer, John Wall, proved to be too much for them on the second night of a back-to-back. Wall finished with 23 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks, while Beal and Porter combined for 42 points.
While the Wizards were rolling offensively, the Lakers couldn’t buy a basket, shooting a measly 36 percent from the field (13 percent from outside). The Lakers’ rookies, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma, struggled especially, making just seven of their combined 26 filed goal attempts.
Despite his ongoing shooting struggles from the field and from the free-throw line (42.9 percent Thursday vs. Washington), Ball once again found other ways to influence the game, finishing with 10 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and two steals. Ball was two rebounds and two assists away from becoming the youngest player in NBA history (20 years and 13 days) to record a triple-double.
The Lakers will head to Milwaukee on Saturday to try and avoid falling three games below .500, but it won’t be easy, as the Bucks and their new point guard, Eric Bledsoe, will try to make up for their own early-season shortcomings.