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Lakers overcome Davis’ absence to beat reeling Wizards

by RepublicAsia

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James had 33 points and nine assists, Lonnie Walker scored 21 points and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame the absence of Anthony Davis to beat the Washington Wizards 119-117 on Sunday night.

Davis, the Lakers’ leader at 27.4 points and 12.1 rebounds, injured his right foot Friday night in a victory over Denver and is expected to be sidelined for several weeks.

Thomas Bryant added 16 points and 10 rebounds to help the Lakers win for the third time in their last four games and hand Washington its 10th straight loss and 13th in 14 games.

Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (6) goes up for a dunk as Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal (3), Monte Morris (22) watch during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 119-117. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

“You have to follow the lead and sometimes wait for your (name) to be called,” said Bryant after making his third start with Davis sidelined. “It doesn’t change the fact that you have to be ready and stay ready and do what you can to make sure you’re in that mode in case something like this happens. I take pride in the preparation that I have.”

James appeared to lose the ball near midcourt, but regained possession and found Bryant underneath for a tiebreaking dunk with 7.1 seconds remaining. Former Laker Kyle Kuzma missed a 3-pointer for Washington with 2.1 seconds left.

“Whoever is available to play, we have to make plays,” said James who had his fourth consecutive game of at least 30 points. “We’re all NBA players and we have to go out and trust the game plan the coaches put oth there. Tonight, we were able to do that for the majority of the game.”

Bradley Beal scored 29 points in his return to the Wizards. He missed the past six games because of a hamstring injury, last seeing action Dec. 4 in a 130-119 home loss to the Lakers,

Kuzma scored 22 points and Kristaps Porzingis added 21 for Washington. The Wizards last won Nov. 28 at home against Minnesota.

Los Angeles Lakers’ Damian Jones dunks the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

“It’s frustrating for sure,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said after allowing the go-ahead basket on a broken play. “We were playing to get the ball out of (James’) hands and missed it. We got a hand on the ball to knock it loose, we just didn’t come up with possession.”

The Wizards led 102-98 with 6:43 remaining after an alley-oop dunk by Daniel Gafford. But an 8-0 run from Lakers, capped by James’ three-point play, gave Los Angeles a 106-102 lead with 5:09 remaining. The Lakers never trailed again.

Austin Reaves hit a pair of floaters as the Lakers went up 115-111 with 1:17 remaining. But the Wizards tied it on consecutive baskets from Gafford and Beal.

James put the Lakers ahead 117-115 when he brought the ball down court and split the lane for an uncontested dunk with 27.1 seconds remaining. Beal tied it again at 117 on a pair of free throws with 23.1 seconds left.

Beal played 32 minutes in his return.

“I thought he looked great,” Unseld said. “It’s a credit to him that he was able to bounce back. he’s really good as far as getting his rhythm on the floor.”

Davis was injured Friday when his foot was twisted against the leg of the Nuggets star Nikola Jokic.

The severity still is being determined. He was set to see a specialist Sunday night.

Davis missed 36 of the Lakers’ 72 regular-season games in the 2020-21 season, then didn’t play in 42 of their 82 games last season. Sunday was just his fourth absence this season.

Wizards: Gafford sustained an ankle injury in the first half but returned after halftime. … G Delon Wright, who hasn’t played since Oct. 25 because of a hamstring injury, continues to progress toward a possible return by the end of the month.
Lakers: G Patrick Beverley did not play because of right calf soreness. … Reaves stepped on the foot of Gafford just past the midway point of the third quarter and went to the locker room with an ankle injury before he returned in the fourth

Wizards: At Phoenix on Tuesday night.
Lakers: At Phoenix on Monday night.

banner photo AP

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