Lakers go for 10 straight vs. Wizards
No NBA team is hotter than the Los Angeles Lakers. Anthony Davis is a big reason why.
The 6-foot-10 forward and the Lakers will attempt to extend their sizzling run Friday when they host the Washington Wizards.
The Lakers are riding a nine-game winning streak after Davis scored 41 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a 114-110 win over his former team, the New Orleans Pelicans, on Wednesday night.
It was the first matchup between the two clubs since the Pelicans traded Davis to the Lakers for Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and draft picks.
“Anytime you go back to a place where you’ve made a mark and you started your career and you’ve played significant minutes and gave a lot to the community and gave a lot to the franchise, you want to come back and play well and you want to win,” said LeBron James, who finished with 29 points, 11 assists and five rebounds in the victory, according to the Orange County Register.
A late steal and three free throws by Davis in the final seconds allowed the Lakers to capture their 16th win in 17 games.
“He performed unbelievably,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of Davis. “It was a tough environment, getting booed every time he touched the basketball, playing against a bunch of guys that know him, playing against a coach that knows him. And he put all that stuff aside, blocked out the noise and rose to the challenge and had a great game.”
Davis has been crucial to the Lakers’ run. He averages 26.1 points, nine rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. In his past five contests, Davis has averaged 29.8 points. The six-time All-Star leads the league in blocks at 2.8 per game and is tied for ninth in steals at 1.6 per game.
The Wizards also are coming off a win, a 140-132 decision over the Suns in Phoenix on Wednesday. Bradley Beal scored 35 points on 11-of-18 shooting, including 4 of 6 treys, while Thomas Bryant, a former Laker, added 23 points and nine rebounds for the Wizards, the NBA’s second highest scoring team at 119.4 points per outing behind the Milwaukee Bucks.
Ish Smith scored 21 points and recorded seven assists off the bench.
The Wizards bounced back after a 117-104 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, a result that prompted Washington coach Scott Brooks to criticize his team’s performance.
“It’s probably the first time he’s done it all year,” said Beal, the NBA’s fourth-leading scorer at 28.9 points per game, according to the Washington Post. “It was definitely well needed for everybody.”
The Friday game will feature another reunion of former Lakers. Moritz Wagner and Isaac Bonga were traded to Washington last summer to clear cap room to acquire Davis. Point guard Isaiah Thomas played 17 games for Los Angeles during the 2017-18 season.
Wagner has been a key reserve, averaging 12.3 points for the Wizards’ second unit, which is averaging 48.3 points per game. That ranks second in the NBA, with only the Los Angeles Clippers (52.7 points game game) getting more from their bench.
“We’ve got playmakers,” said forward Davis Bertans, who scored 16 of the Wizards’ 59 points by the reserves in the win over the Suns, according to the Post. “We get in the lane and have shooters, so I think that’s good for us.”
–Field Level Media