Lakers Hand Wizards First Loss of the Season
Bradley Beal scored 28 points in a losing effort against the LA Lakers during an away game on Wednesday, October 25, 2017. Robert Eubanks/DC Sports Box file photo
Don’t you hate when Lavar Ball is right? He was right not once, but twice regarding the result of the Lakers game against the Wizards.
Days after declaring that the Wizards should beware since his son, Lonzo Ball, would not lose again in the same week, the Lakers backed up his words.

The Lakers dealt the Wizards their first loss, 102-99, after overcoming a late 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

We just didn’t want it. We gave the game away. Just plain and simple,” said Bradley Beal. “We were up double digits numerous times and we got to keep attacking, stay aggressive and we didn’t do that. We got lackadaisical."

The fourth quarter was when things started to go downhill for the Wizards. With just under 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, and the Wizards holding their largest lead of the game, CSN Mid-Atlantic again spoke to Lavar Ball. He was still being prophetic.

“We’ve still got time, man. See me after the game, they’re gonna get this W,” he declared. Correct again.

After establishing a double-digit lead in the third quarter, the Wizards offense went flat for the remainder of the game. Holding a 85-75 lead with 7:08 remaining in the fourth quarter, the wheels started to come off for the Wizards. The team missed seven straight shots and allowed the Lakers to tie the game with 3:28 remaining, behind a 10-0 run.  

Coming out a timeout, the Wizards scored six straight points to take a 91-85 lead with under two minutes remaining, but the Lakers held their ground and forced a come-back.

On what was one of the biggest plays of the night for the Lakers, Brandon Ingram forced overtime after he drove to the hole with Kelly Oubre Jr. covering him. After missing the initial lay-up attempt, Ingram secured the rebound and tipped in the follow-up to tie the game at 92 with under one second remaining.

Lakers Coach Luke Walton though Oubre’s trash talk was a driving force for Ingram. 

“When they kinda started jawing a little bit, it, for whatever reason, got Brandon to another level, and he turned a mediocre game into one where he was grabbing defensive rebounds, calling plays out in a half-court set,” said Walton.'

Ingram scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, just two shy of the entire Wizards team. He ended the game with 19 points and 10 rebounds.  

In overtime, poor shooting and careless errors continued to plague the Wizards. Despite three missed free throws and a shot clock violation, the Wizards still had a chance late.

Down 100-99, with under 15 seconds remaining, Wall drove to the hoop and was blocked by Julius Randle, on what could have been a foul. The ball went out of bounds off Wall and the Lakers regained possession.

On the ensuing inbound pass, the Wizards did not foul and let the Lakers advance the ball up the court for an uncontested dunk by Randle, giving the Lakers a 102-99 advantage.

With under five seconds remaining, the Wizards got the ball to Wall. After missing an opportunity to find Beal or Jodie Meeks for an open three, Wall double-clutched, in an attempt to draw a foul on Ball, and shot a three which fell off the back of the rim.

After the game, Wall questioned if he had made the right decision on the final shot. “Should have made a pass, because Brad had got wide open at the last second in the corner,” Wall said. “It wasn’t a good shot; it was just trying to get a shot before the time went off.”

Wall vs. Ball Showdown:

Given Lavar Ball’s comments and the rebuttal by Marcin Gortat and John Wall, there was a lot of hype going into this contest. Gortat had tweeted that Wall would “torture” Lonzo Ball for 48 minutes in response to the elder Ball’s comments. Wall later had said he would show Ball “no mercy” in the game.

The in-game battle did not live up to the pre-game hype as both players shot poorly throughout the game. Wall went 7-for-22 from the field and finished with 18 points and 9 assists. He went ice cold in the fourth quarter and overtime, connecting on only one of his ten shot attempts. Ball went 2-for-11 from the field and finished with 6 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds.

Despite having an off-night shooting, Ball did contribute significantly to the Lakers victory. Ball forced Wall into two of his turnovers early in the game and contested Wall’s final shot in overtime.

During the 10-0 Lakers run that tied the game at 85, Ball grabbed a key offensive rebound and found Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for a three which brought the Lakers within 2. Later in the quarter, Ball secured another rebound and hit Randle for another three-pointer to bring the Lakers within 1.

In overtime, Ball was directly involved on eight straight Lakers points. After hitting a lay-up to tie the score at 94, he found Kyle Kuzma for a 25-footer which put the Lakers up 97-95. After the Wizards took a 99-97 lead, Ball collected his tenth assist when he found Caldwell-Pope for a 24-footer which put the Lakers up for good.

With all the external noise coming into the contest, after the game, Ball was asked what statement he thought the Lakers had made with their victory.

“We’re just going to come out and fight every team,” said Ball. “No matter who it is, we’re going to try to put ourselves in the best position to win.”

Costly Free Throws:

After averaging 84% shooting from the charity stripe over the first three games of the season, the Wizards went 15-for-23 (65.2%) from the line against the Lakers.

Not only did the team shoot poorly from the free throw line, but they also attempted the least free throws thus far this season.

Wall, who was averaging over 11 free throws per game thus far this season, only saw four free throw attempts. Lakers Coach Luke Walton mentioned that limiting Wall’s chances at the line was a part of their game plan coming in to the match-up.

“The main thing we said with Wall is we just wanted to keep him off the foul line, which we did a great job of,” said Walton. “I mean, he is so hard to keep off the foul line and from scoring at the front of the rim on you.”

Upcoming Games:

The Wizards continue their road trip and play the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.

The  Lakers host the Toronto Raptors on Friday night.
Written by Hirdesh Matta