The scene shifted to Hollywood for the 3rd game of the Wizards’ road trip, as they got set for a showdown with Lebron and the Lakers. Washington was coming off a solid win against Phoenix, which improved their record to 6-10. Los Angeles was coming off a win as well, nine in a row in fact, and stood at 16-2, the best record in the NBA.
Center Thomas Bryant won the tip-off and we were underway from Staples Center. Playing in front of his countryman and Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani, Rui Hachimura started off on fire with a tough step-back jump shot over the King. His fast start translated to the defensive end as well. A quick steal on Lebron led to another 2 points for the rookie.
Beal, Troy Brown Jr. and Isaiah Thomas chipped in with some scoring as well. Washington came blazing out of the gates and went up 17-8 with 5:59 left in the 1st Quarter. Things were good. Washington was having fun. It was a party. And then former Spur and Raptor Danny Green made a long-range shot, and everything went sideways. Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo settled into the game and took over. The Lakers overcame their slow start to sprint out to a 37-23 lead to end the 1st.
Isaac Bonga of Germany checked in to the game and cashed in on his playing time opportunity. He hit a 26-foot three, via an assist from Jordan McRae to cut the lead to 11 points. Both teams followed up by trading threes which was less than ideal for the Wizards, who were trying to get back in the game. Eleven points was the closest Washington could get in the 2nd.
Lebron asserted himself on the offensive end, hitting from beyond the arc and hitting his patented step-back jumper. The lead ballooned to 23 just before half, as Lebron dished out a nice pass to Green who took it to the rack for a layup to put his team up 70-47. Hachimura heaved up a desperation three in the waning seconds of the first half, as Washington headed to the lockeroom down 70-49.
The Wizards opened up the second half stuck in a drought. The visitors went over 5 minutes without a made field goal, which was snapped by Hachimura making a 15-foot jump shot on an assist by Beal. By that time, Los Angeles was running rampant with a 93-50 lead with 7:02 left in the 3rd.
The rookie from Japan continued to be the sole focus on the offensive end for Washington, and he constructed a mini run by himself. Unfortunately, he was getting no support from his teammates, as no one else scored until the 5:17 mark, courtesy of a Bradley Beal layup to make it 93-59. Los Angeles seemed to have put the game away, as they held the Wizards 79 points through 3 quarters.
Sensing that the game was out of reach now, Coach Brooks emptied his bench and waved the white flag to start the 4th Quarter. Jordan McRae had some nice jump shots and drives into the paint in the early stages of the 4th quarter to make it 123-98. Former Oregon Duck Troy Brown Jr. closed out the scoring for the night, as he made a layup and 2 free throws in the dwindling moments of a 125-103 win by Los Angeles.
Lakers’ two stars, Lebron and Anthony Davis, ran the show once again as they combined for 49 points. Lebron had 23 of that 49, which included 3 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 steals, 1 block and 4 three-pointers in 8 attempts. Anthony Davis went for 26 points while adding in 13 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 blocks. Los Angeles improves to 17-2, which ties their best start in franchise history. The Lakers also win their 10th straight as they improve to 9-1 at home.
While Beal led the team in scoring with 18 points, it was Hachimura who had the best performance of the night. Unfazed by the bright lights of the City of Angels, Rui conributed 16 points in addition to 8 rebounds, 1 assists and 1 steal. The Wizards drop to 6-11 and 3-7 on the road. They will stay in Los Angeles and give it another go at Staples Center when they lock horns with Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers on Sunday.