The Washington Wizards lost to the Los Angeles Lakers 102-99 in overtime on Wednesday night at the Staples Center. Here's analysis of what went down...
Undefeated no longer: The Wizards looked well on their way to a fourth straight win to begin the season, but LaVar Ball and the Lakers had other ideas.
Yes, LaVar Ball. He appeared on the NBC Sports Washington broadcast early in the fourth quarter when the Wizards were in control and predicted a victory. Then, the Lakers zoomed back.
not like this not like this pic.twitter.com/idrJwfojPa— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) October 26, 2017
The Lakers battled back down 10 points to begin the third quarter to force overtime thanks to a tip-in by Brandon Ingram with 0.7 seconds left. Ingram tipped in his own shot, which was not a great look for the Wizards' defense. From there the game seesawed with a Julius Randle dunk with 4.5 seconds serving as the finishing touches of a Lakers win.
The last shot for the Wizards was a three-pointer by John Wall that was way off. Wall appeared to be hoping for a foul, but regardless he is not the best candidate for a final three with Bradley Beal also on the court and Otto Porter fouling out didn't help that cause.
The Wizards fell to 3-1 on the year, falling one win short of their best start since 1978-79.
Wall vs. Ball: This game was billed as Wall vs. Lonzo Ball, superstar point guard against a guy who could be well on his way to becoming one. The two had their moments matching up with each other, but there was no defining moment where one got the best of the other.
The first quarter saw Wall and Ball score a combined two points. They had a combined six points at halftime, all in Wall's favor. It was another slow shooting start for Wall, who was 3-for-8 at the break.
Wall did have a few highlight-worthy plays, however, and one was at Ball's expense. Early in the first quarter Wall flew by Ball with a nasty crossover:
To steal a line from LaVar, Lonzo Ball better beware of John Wall's crossover. pic.twitter.com/r6qePNX1BQ— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) October 26, 2017
This dunk was the highlight of the night:
Ball had a rought night overall with six points on 2-for-11 shooting, but went home with a win. Wall had 18 points with nine assists, but shot 17-for-22 from the field.
Wall was involved in a controversial play with :11 seconds remaining in overtime. He drove to the rim and was blocked by Randle. A referee review ruled possession for the Lakers. That gave L.A. the ball with a 100-99 lead, setting up Randle's dunk to seal it.
Beal is taking another step: Beal showed off his improvement as a ball-handler, particularly in the third quarter. There were a few plays he made that you just didn't see in years past. He had a hesitation fake at the three-point line that got him a layup. There was also a beautiful shimmy move that led to a fadeaway over a much taller Brandon Ingram.
Given it was the Staples Center, this was a nice ode to Lakers legend Kobe Bryant:
Beal finished with a game-high 28 points with six rebounds and two assists.
Free throws, man: The Wizards have nobody to blame but themselves for this loss. They shot 65.2 percent for the game from the free throw line. They also scored just 13 points in the fourth quarter. That won't cut it.
Mahinmi hurt: Yes, it happened again. This time Ian Mahinmi sprained his left ankle. Jason Smith had missed two games with a sprained right shoulder and hadn't played in the first half, but Mahinmi's injury brought Smith off the bench. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Mahinmi can't catch a break in the injury department. Last game he messed up his left calf, but was able to return. One has to wonder if these are related, given it's the same leg.
Up next: The Wizards head up the coast to play the defending-champion Golden State Warriors. Washington is 3-1, making this quite the matchup. Tipoff is at 10:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.
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