The recently resurgent Los Angeles Lakers look to stay hot away from home when they continue a five-game eastern trip Sunday, taking on a host Washington Wizards team trying to shake out of a funk.
The Wizards lost for the fifth time in six games Friday when their fourth-quarter rally at Charlotte fell just short, 117-116. The Wizards stormed back from a 13-point deficit, outscoring the Hornets 18-6 over the final 8:19, but could not complete the comeback.
"The biggest thing we learned is we just can't get in a hole like that," Bradley Beal said to the Washington Post following the loss. Beal scored 33 points but committed two costly turnovers in the closing stretch. "It's tough to climb out of those holes and close out games, too."
The Wizards trailed by 15 points at halftime after a 38-28 second quarter. Washington surrendered 72 first-half points and, despite a big rally in the fourth quarter, could not overcome the initial deficit.
As Washington looks to pull out of its recent swoon, the Lakers come in having won four of five, including their last three on the road. Friday night the Lakers started their trip in Milwaukee with a 133-129 victory over the Bucks.
Anthony Davis went for 44 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and blocked three shots for Los Angeles and both LeBron James and Russell Westbrook flirted with triple-doubles. James collected 28 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds; and Westbrook came off the bench for 15 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds.
"Tonight is the most complementary and the best game with all three of us on the floor together that we've played on both sides of the floor," James said following the win. "We all felt in a rhythm. We all felt we was making impactful plays throughout the whole game."
Davis has been on a tear recently with Friday marking his fifth 30-plus-point game over the last eight he has played. He has recorded a double-double in all eight of those contests, including a remarkable 37-point, 21-rebound effort against Phoenix on Nov. 22.
Washington will try to contain Davis despite having a noteworthy absence in the frontcourt. Rui Hachimura will miss his eighth straight game with an ankle injury that Washington coach Wes Unseld Jr. told NBC Sports Washington was "week-to-week."
Kristaps Porzingis is shouldering much of the interior duty for the Wizards, averaging 21.6 points and a team-high 8.8 rebounds.
Porzingis scored a career-high 41 points Nov. 28 against Minnesota, the Wizards' only triumph in the past five games. Washington's 142 points in that victory were 21 more than its next-highest output of the season.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, has produced its two highest-scoring games amid the most recent stretch with 143 Nov. 26 at San Antonio, and Friday's 133-point output.
--Field Level Media