Lakers suffer ninth straight loss when Wizards rally to victory
For one entertaining half, Wayne Ellington and Lakers rookie Jordan Clarkson outscored and outplayed Washington’s star backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal.
The Wizards gathered themselves at halftime and comfortably avoided an embarrassing upset.
Wall had 21 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds, and Washington rallied from a 19-point deficit to send Los Angeles to its ninth straight loss, 98-92 on Tuesday night.
Beal scored 19 points for the Wizards, who won their fifth straight over the Lakers with a tenacious fourth quarter after falling far behind in the first half of their third stop on a four-game West Coast trip. Washington’s locker room was an unhappy place at half, and the Wizards’ guards took it personally.
"We underestimated them way too much," Beal said. "We were surprised how confident they were coming in. Given their record, we expected it to be an easy game, and they did a great job."
Paul Pierce sat out for the Wizards with a sore left big toe, but Wall played on despite a sore Achilles tendon, a daylong migraine headache and another aggravated ankle after he stepped on a cameraman late in the game.
"I’m just a competitive person," Wall said with a shrug. "I’m just a guy that doesn’t want to let my guys down. … I don’t like to sit out games. I sat out too many (in) my first three years."
Ellington scored a career-high 28 points and Clarkson had a career-high 18 for the Lakers, who are on their longest skid since April 1994.
The Lakers’ inexperienced starting backcourt still played exceptionally well against the Wizards’ dynamic duo, with Ellington and Clarkson combining for 33 points in the first half.
"We were moving the ball, getting to the rim and getting easy shots," Clarkson said. "In the third quarter, we started missing shots, made a couple of turnovers, and they just started playing in transition. John Wall is hard to stop when that happens. He’s fast. He’s one of the fastest players I’ve ever played against."
The Lakers could set plenty of new lows for the rest of this season without Kobe Bryant, who will have what’s likely to be season-ending surgery Wednesday on his torn right rotator cuff.
Their new backcourt has started just three games together. After Bryant was injured, coach Byron Scott replaced veteran point guards Ronnie Price and Jeremy Lin with Clarkson, the rookie second-round pick out of Missouri.
After a rough start in the last two losses, the duo clicked immediately against Wall and Beal. Ellington and Clarkson scored 11 points apiece in the first quarter, and Ellington made his first six shots while pacing the Lakers to a 49-30 lead in the second quarter.
"I made up my mind I’m going to come out aggressive," Ellington said. "We are a team that needs to be hungry."
Wizards: Martell Webster left the game in obvious pain in the third quarter after banging knees with Lin. Webster, who committed a foul on the play, struggled to put weight on his right leg. … Redskins WR DeSean Jackson attended the game. The star wideout is a Southern California native who attended Long Beach Poly.
Lakers: The team paid tribute to Jerry Buss on what would have been his 82nd birthday, handing out commemorative rings and airing video tributes to the late owner throughout the game. … The Lakers had won 33 straight games in which they led by at least 19 points. … Ed Davis scored 14 points off the bench, but starter Ryan Kelly managed just one point in 20 minutes.
The Lakers (12-34) hadn’t dropped nine games in a row since losing 10 straight to close the 1993-94 season under coach Magic Johnson. Vlade Divac, Nick Van Exel and Anthony Peeler were the Lakers’ top scorers that season, which also was the final year of James Worthy’s Hall of Fame career.
Nick Young didn’t play after spraining his right ankle in practice on Monday. Scott hopes the streaky shooter will be available Thursday after another day of rest.