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Washington Wizards wipe out Los Angeles Lakers, stay in East race

By Forrest Lee, The Sports Xchange   |   March 28, 2016 at 1:30 AM
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LOS ANGELES -- John Wall believes the Washington Wizards have an excellent shot at making the playoffs.

It is imperative, though, that the Wizards string together some wins during the final stretch of the NBA regular season.

Wall scored 22 points and handed out 13 assists, leading the Wizards to a 101-88 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night at Staples Center.

"All we can do is control our own destiny," said Wall, who made nine of 16 shots from the floor and two of five 3-point attempts. "Try to win as many games as we can and let it come down to see if it's a tiebreaker or anything."

The Wizards (36-37) pulled within 2 1/2 games of the idle Detroit Pistons in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Chicago Bulls are a half-game ahead of Washington.

"We've got the tiebreaker against Detroit and Chicago, and that's a plus," Wall said. "And we play Detroit one more time, so it's something that we just have to take care of our own business first."

Marcin Gortat collected 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards, who ended a two-game losing streak. Washington won for the sixth time in eight contests.

Otto Porter Jr. and J.J. Hickson, who made all five of his field-goal attempts, added 14 points apiece for the Wizards. Ramon Sessions came off the bench to score 11 points, while Nene had 10.

Rookie point guard D'Angelo Russell, who sustained an ankle sprain Friday in the Lakers' loss to the Denver Nuggets and was a game-time decision against Washington, scored 22 points to lead Los Angeles (15-58).

Kobe Bryant scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half. Bryant, who had nine points in the first quarter, did not play in the fourth quarter.

Julius Randle had 14 points and seven rebounds, and Lou Williams contributed 11 points for Los Angeles, the worst team in the Western Conference.

"Turnovers, fastbreak points, we never recovered from that," said Randle, who had only one of the 18 turnovers (leading to 19 points) the Lakers committed. The Wizards also had 18 miscues (leading to 11 points).

"Actually, we did, we just didn't start the third quarter off (well). We didn't compete at all."

Washington blew the game open in the third quarter, outscoring Los Angeles 27-15. Porter had nine points in the period.

The Lakers led 27-24 after one quarter, but an 18-2 run by the Wizards boosted them to a 43-34 advantage after a bucket by Gortat with 5:13 remaining in the second quarter. Washington held a 50-44 lead at the break.

"They hit three threes there early in the first quarter and went up 13-4, but after that point we re-established ourselves," Washington coach Randy Wittman said. "Holding them to 17 points in the second quarter and 15 in the third won the game for us. We've got to do a better job of closing games out. We just get kind of careless with what we're doing."

Wall had 17 first-half points to lead all scorers

The Wizards prevailed despite the absence of Markieff Morris, who missed the game because of left calf tightness.

Washington converted 52.5 percent of its shots in the opening half compared to only 34.1 percent for Los Angeles. Overall, the Wizards shot 54.2 percent to 37.9 percent for the Lakers.

"Even with a good start, I just didn't feel we had any zip tonight at all for whatever reason," Lakers coach Byron Scott said. "Even though we got off to a good, hot start in the first quarter, when the game kind of settled down, I just didn't see that zip. The second, third quarters obviously weren't our best quarters on either end of the floor. Like I said before, I just didn't see it for whatever reason."

NOTES: Wizards PG John Wall recorded his ninth consecutive double-double and 12th in the past 13 games. Overall, Wall has 46 double-doubles this season, which ranks second in the NBA to Oklahoma City PG Russell Westbrook, who has 48. ... With a triple-double in a loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night, 21-year-old Lakers F Julius Randle became the second-youngest player to accomplish the feat. Magic Johnson is the youngest. ... Los Angeles captured the previous meeting 108-104 on Dec. 2 at Washington. ... Over the last 30 years, the Lakers have lost just four season series to the Wizards. Two of those setbacks occurred during the previous two seasons. ... The Lakers visit the Utah Jazz on Monday. The Wizards play at the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.

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