Kobe Bryant took a sip from the fountain on youth scoring 31 points as the Lakers beat the Wizards 108-104. John Wall was equally impressive coming oh so close to a triple double with 34 points, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds but it wouldn’t be enough as the Black Mamba stole the show. Hey… It’s his farewell tour right?
The Wizards burst out of the gate tonight connecting on five of their first seven shots giving the Wizards an early 13-6 lead cause this was going to be an easy win right?
In the second official game of his farewell tour, as expected, every time Kobe touched the ball; the crowd was Ooooh-ing and Ahhhh-ing begging him to shoot. Kobe did not disappoint. The Black Mamba hit 2-3 shots to begin and scored seven points in the first quarter.
About midway through the first quarter, the Wizards started playing like a team on the second half of a back to back. The Wizards were loose with the rock (12 first half turnovers), showed little energy on defense, and got crushed on the defensive glass (Lakers had 10 first half offensive rebounds). The Lakers ended the quarter on a 27-6 run and enjoyed a 34-22 lead.
Kobe shook Garrett Temple and knocked down a fadeaway jumper to open up the second quarter. Bryant backed that up with a vintage fadeaway falling out of bounds which Temple could do nothing about defensively.
With the Lakers lead at 19, it started looking like last night in Cleveland was just a mirage. But the Wizards fought back strong. John Wall and Marcin Gortat continued executing on the pick and roll for easy buckets. Kris Humphries who we all thought was buried on the bench came in and knocked down the Wizards’ first three of the game, getting the Wiz within striking distance down 6, 57-51 at halftime.
The Wizards started the third quarter on an 11-4 run. Threes from Beal, Wall, and a dunk in transition from Porter had the game tied at 59 in the blink of an eye. After hitting just one three-pointer in the first half,
the Wizards knocked down five three pointers in the third Let’s just skip to the fourth quarter shall we?
Early in the fourth, Ramon Sessions curled off a screen and spun to the hole with a finger roll, putting the Wizards up four with 8:14 to play. Fans thought this would be the run the Wizards would use to run away from the lowly Lakers.
Kobe wouldn’t let that happen. Not in front of a pro-Laker crowd at Verizon Center. Kobe knocked home back-to-back shots including a long three-pointer to give the Lakers a 90-87 lead.
That’s when things got crazy. This game turned into a scoring matchup between John Wall and Kobe Bryant. John Wall scored 12 straight points for the Wizards down the stretch. Kobe had an answer. With the ball on the left side of the court, Kobe rose up and knocked home a huge three pointer giving the Lakers a two-point lead with under two minutes to play. Next time down, Kobe picked on Bradley Beal hitting a fadeaway over him with just 30 seconds to play.
The Wizards had one final opportunity to tie this game, but John Wall turned the ball over. Wizards lose a game they had no business being in 108-104.
For all NBA fans out there, this is a game we can all appreciate. It very likely could end up being Kobe’s best game of the season.
John Wall: John Wall logged back-to-back 30+ point/10+ assist games in as many nights for the first time in his career and just barely missed a triple double.
Pick and Roll Game: John Wall and Marcin Gortat are in midseason form with the pick and roll game. Wall and Gortat ran the oldest play in basketball resulting in five easy layups or dunks for the Polish Hammer. Bradley Beal? Not so much. Beal committed three of his five turnovers running the pick and roll with Gortat.
Turnovers: The Wizards committed 23 turnovers resulting in 33 Laker points. Let’s be honest, If the Wizards weren’t playing the Lakers, this would have been a 25+ point blowout.