Lakers vs. Wizards: In-game report
From Washington, D.C.
Lakers 115, Wizards 103 (final)
After a tough, last-second loss to the Raptors on Sunday in Toronto, the Lakers got back on the winning track.
They defeated the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night at the Verizon Center to improve to 2-2 on an eight-game, 13-day trip.
The Lakers play the Pacers on Wednesday night in Indianapolis, a place where Los Angeles lost a game on a last-second shot last season.
So the Lakers know it won't be easy in this back-to-back setting.
Five Lakers scored in double figures.
Kobe Bryant had 26 points and eight assists and Pau Gasol had a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Lakers 87, Wizards 72 (third quarter)
Kobe Bryant had 11 points in the third quarter to help the Lakers lead by 15 points entering the fourth quarter.
By the end of the third, Bryant had 21 points for a Lakers team that didn't appear to let up in the third.
Lakers 60, Wizards 44 (halftime)
The Lakers picked up their intensity on defense in the second quarter, and as a result they overwhelmed the Wizards, allowing Los Angeles to open a 16-point halftime lead.
After giving up 29 points in the first quarter, the Lakers held the Wizards to 15 points in the second.
The Lakers shot 59.5% from the field in the first half. They had three players score in double figures.
Pau Gasol had 13 points, on six-for-eight shooting, and six rebounds. Lamar Odom had 11 points, on five-for-five shooting, and five rebounds and three assists.
Kobe Bryant had 10 points and four assists in the first half.
Lakers 30, Wizards 29 (first quarter)
Besides not playing much defense in the first quarter, the Lakers also mishandled the basketball too much.
And that's why they led by just one point at the end of the first.
It took a last-second shot by Kobe Bryant, who had seven first-quarter points, for the Lakers to overtake the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night at the Verizon Center.
The Lakers saw the Wizards shoot 54.2% from the field in the first.
Making matters worse, the Lakers turned the ball over four times in the first, twice by Bryant, who was trying to force the ball inside.
Bryant also had three assists in the first quarter.
It has been a busy period for the Lakers, so busy that they haven't been able to practice for almost a week now.
For Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, that is an issue.
His team had a shoot-around before tonight's game against the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center, but Jackson wants more practice time.
"What I'm worried about is the fact that we haven't had a practice," Jackson said.
The Lakers traveled to the White House on Monday to meet President Obama, so there went that day of practice.
The team has been on the road for seven days, stopping in Cleveland, New York and Toronto before landing here in Washington to play the Wizards.
The last time the Lakers practiced was Jan. 19 at their training facility in El Segundo.
"I think it's that rhythm you're always worried about," Jackson said.
Before the game, Jackson was asked how Ron Artest was feeling. The forward missed the team's ceremony at the White House because of flu symptoms.
"Ron feels fine," Jackson said, smiling. "He had the 2 1/2-hour flu, is what it was."
That was about how long the Lakers were involved in the White House ceremony.
Artest was expected to start tonight.
-- Broderick Turner