Ray Rogers AKA USS Blogger
The Washington Wizards recorded their 16th straight home victory last night with a 116 – 108 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Entering Thursday night’s contest the overwhelming notion was that the Wizards would win handily over a young Lakers ball club searching for an identity. As a matter of fact, there was very little focus on the Lakers at least on the part of fans and media with everyone pondering whether Washington can climb up to the #2 seed in the eastern conference and/or challenge for a trip to the NBA finals.
Once the game began, it also seemed evident that the Wizards themselves were overlooking these Lakers which entailed a 1st quarter where the Wizards shot just 41% on 12/29 shooting, resulting in a mere 31 – 29 advantage. However, arguably the second hottest team in basketball (behind Golden State) built a 19 point second quarter advantage and at halftime led 58 – 44. It was at this time where many believed this game was over and throughout the third quarter the Wizards maintained their lead, entering the final period up 11.
Then it happened. The Lakers began to make a run and a miracle occurred as the Verizon Center was transformed into Staples Center. It occurred just as quickly as Clark Kent turning into "Superman". While apparent from the start that the Lakers faithful came out in droves, the team’s early fourth quarter surge was resuscitating which saw the Lakers erase the Wizards lead to tie the game 91 - 91 with 9:08 remaining.
Lakers fans however were not the only ones to come to life at this time. So did All Star guard John Wall. Wall outscored the Lakers 8 – 2 including two 3 pointers to put the Wizards ahead 99 – 93. Wall, who entered the fourth quarter just 17 points, finished with a game high 33. We haven’t seen a closer this good in DC since maybe…former Nationals pitcher Chad Cordero. And that’s exactly what Wall is developing into, a closer, which former teammate and current Lakers guard Nick Young acknowledged after the game “He’s taking the big shots now in the fourth quarter, he’s taking over games”.
With Wall emerging as a closer the Wizards are expected to continue this hot streak. The rest of the NBA continues to take notice and teams will now be gunning to end this home winning streak. It won’t be easy for Washington, but with more and more games taking on playoff type intensity, this upcoming stretch can only further the Wizards growth. Next up is the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday February 4th and the team from the “Big Easy” is expected to be anything but easy to defeat.
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Urban Sports Scene Wizards Lakers Post Game Show