The Los Angeles Lakers had one of their best wins of the season on Sunday night when they blew out the Charlotte Hornets. On Sunday, they were on the opposite end of the same type of win for the Washington Wizards, as John Wall had arguably his best night of the year to help the Wiz glide past L.A.
Wall had a season-high 40 points to go with 14 assists and 6 rebounds in 42 minutes as he helped the Wizards shoot 51.4 percent as a team to beat Los Angeles 128-110 in what seemed like a schedule loss with L.A. missing three key members of their rotation in JaVale McGee (flu-like symptoms), Rajon Rondo (broken hand) and Brandon Ingram (sprained ankle).
LeBron James had an off night — as did just about everyone on the Lakers — finishing with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in 32 minutes as head coach Luke Walton was at least able to get his star an early rest.
The Wizards led from start to finish in one of their best games of what has been a disappointing season in Washington. The Lakers went on an 8-0 run at one point in the fourth to cut the lead to 15 with around eight minutes left, but it was too little, too late after another rough performance on a Sunday for the Lake Show.
Does it feel like the Lakers always play worse on Sundays?— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) December 17, 2018
Well, the numbers (sort of) back that up: The team has shot worse on Sundays than any other day of the week in which they've played more than one game (even excluding today). pic.twitter.com/DW1PkWeOtZ
The positives for the Lakers, as much as there were any, were that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had his best game of the season, starting 7-7 from the field before finishing with a season-high 25 points on 9-12 shooting.
“But the Lakers lost! Why does KCP’s scoring matter??”, I can hear you asking. Well, it ups his trade value, for one, and if he and the Lakers are looking for a new home for him before the deadline, nights like this aren’t a bad thing, even if they come in a loss.
Plus, if Caldwell-Pope has found some rhythm, that can help the Lakers get wins for as long as he’s on the roster.
McGee’s absence due to “flu-like symptoms” also gave rookie Moe Wagner a chance to get some minutes at the backup five, and he acquitted himself well on both ends, a happy development for the Lakers’ most recent first-round pick. Wagner finished with 12 points on 5-7 shooting, and had some nice sequences while switching on defense as well, despite the team-wide issues on that end.
The Lakers will have a day to shake this off before finishing their road trip with a game against the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday. We’ll see you there.
As an aside from basketball, prayers up to Michael Beasley and his family. He’s been dealing with a “family issue” that he’s missed some time for, and we found out what it was tonight. Let’s send some positive vibes their way:
Michael Beasley, who was raised in the DC area, has been away from the Lakers due to his mother's illness. However, she wanted to see his team play, so he brought her to the game tonight and joined the Lakers on the bench for the second half.— Bill Oram (@billoram) December 17, 2018
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. All stats per NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.