Advertisement

Washington Wizards top Los Angeles Lakers to clinch Southeast Division

By
The Sports Xchange
John Wall scored 34 points and handed out 14 assists, and the Wizards used a fourth-quarter rally to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 119-108 on Tuesday night at Staples Center. File Photo by Mark Goldman/UPI
John Wall scored 34 points and handed out 14 assists, and the Wizards used a fourth-quarter rally to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 119-108 on Tuesday night at Staples Center. File Photo by Mark Goldman/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES -- John Wall and the Washington Wizards claimed the franchise's first division crown in 38 years.

Wall scored 34 points and handed out 14 assists, and the Wizards used a fourth-quarter rally to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 119-108 on Tuesday night at Staples Center.

Advertisement

Otto Porter Jr. and Bradley Beal added 16 points apiece for the Wizards, who clinched the Southeast Division with the win under first-year coach Scott Brooks. Kelly Oubre Jr. chipped in 14 points.

"It's something that hasn't been done in a long time, so it's something we can cherish," said Wall, who scored 20 points in the second half, 12 in the third quarter.

RELATED Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker out with ankle injury

"It's great for Coach to get it in his first year. But we have bigger goals and our mind is set on bigger things."

Washington (46-28) is two games behind the Boston Celtics and 1 1/2 behind the Cleveland Cavaliers in the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Advertisement

"We had a little water bottle fight in here after the game," Beal said. "We were all excited. It's history for us, John and I especially and our team. It's our first time clinching a division. That's big time for us. We're excited to keep it going moving forward."

RELATED Detroit Pistons might shut down G Reggie Jackson

D'Angelo Russell scored 20 of his 28 points in the first half for the Lakers, who lost to the Wizards for the fifth straight time on their home court. Jordan Clarkson finished with 22 points, and Tyler Ennis had 11 for Los Angeles (21-53).

"We didn't close it out on defense," said Lakers forward Julius Randle, who managed six points on 2-of-7 shooting, with six rebounds and five assists. "We were missing open looks. Guys got their looks. Sometimes they had a man on them; but, for the most part, we were missing good shots."

The Lakers went from making almost every shot in the third quarter to missing three-quarters of them in the final period.

RELATED Hassan Whiteside's buzzer-beater tip lifts Miami Heat over Detroit Pistons

"Honestly, I feel like we got the same shots. We just stopped making them," said Russell, who was 10 of 21 from the floor and 4 of 12 from 3-point range.

Advertisement

"Missed shots and they scored on them," said Russell, who also had nine assists.

The Wizards rallied from being 13 down with a 19-6 run to open the fourth. A basket by Wall tied the score at 101 with 5:56 left. The teams traded buckets before a three-point play by Beal gave the Wizards a 108-104 edge with 2:51 remaining.

Clutch baskets by Oubre, Markieff Morris and Wall helped the Wizards seal the win.

"We just had to lock in defensively," Wall said. "It seemed like every loose ball was going their way. We weren't really making shots. We were shooting something like 30 percent, almost 20-something from the 3-point line, I think. They were shooting 59 percent from the field. They just had it going, and we had to make it tough for those guys and make them miss some shots."

The Lakers came back from a 12-point deficit in the first half to grab a 58-55 lead at the break.

In the third, Los Angeles increased the margin to double digits with some sizzling shooting. The Lakers went up 82-68 after consecutive drives to the bucket by Randle with 4:16 left.

Advertisement

The Lakers hit 15 consecutive shots in the period and finished it shooting 93.8 percent for a 95-82 advantage heading into the final quarter. Clarkson was 6 of 6 from the floor, including 2 for 2 from long distance. Washington shot 45.8 percent.

"We were making shots; we were getting stops," Clarkson said. "Then we stopped making shots and we stopped getting stops."

Overall, the Wizards shot 51.1 percent to 50.6 percent for the Lakers.

NOTES:

-- Lakers rookie F Brandon Ingram (right patellar tendinitis) missed his second game in a row.

-- Wizards coach Scott Brooks indicated he wouldn't rest any of his players during the team's final eight games. "It's not a focus at all," Brooks said. "I definitely talk to all our guys. Game minutes are only a piece of the pie. It's about practicing, and shoot-arounds and days off. That all comes together to formulate the best-educated opinion of giving guys some time off. Right now, I communicate with all of our guys. Our guys are feeling good and fresh."

-- Lakers coach Luke Walton celebrated his 37th birthday.

-- The Wizards face the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday at Staples Center.

Advertisement

-- The Lakers visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday.

Latest Headlines