Wizards-Lakers recap: Lakers unable to hold 17-point lead to drop 3rd straight

Wizards-Lakers recap: Lakers unable to hold 17-point lead to drop 3rd straight
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The Los Angeles Lakers continue to struggle without Anthony Davis and the Washington Wizards continue their stretch of strong play over the last two weeks, as the Wizards stormed back from a 17-point deficit in the second half to defeat the Lakers on Monday night, 127-124 in overtime.

While LeBron James had a big stat line with 31 points, 13 assists, and nine rebounds on an efficient 14 of 29 from the field, but he will likely want one play back from his night. With nine seconds left in regulation, James missed what could have been a go-ahead free-throw on a 3-point play opportunity. The Wizards missed a good look from Bradley Beal on the next possession, so it wouldn’t be a huge stretch to think James could have won them the game in regulation.

In the overtime, Beal and Westbrook scored all 12 points for the Wizards while the Lakers missed two good opportunities to send the game into double-overtime on the last possession of OT. Nevertheless, the Lakers suffered another loss and have fallen to 3rd place in the Western Conference, behind the Los Angeles Clippers.

How much of a problem is this problem

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It would be an insult to suggest that the Lakers losing three straight games and four games of their last five isn’t an issue. But the real question that must be asked is, how big of an issue is it? The answer ultimately depends on how Anthony Davis heals and whether his injury can be managed to a point where it doesn’t become a long-term loss, like many fear given the location of the injury in the calf/Achilles injury. Getting Dennis Schröder back later this week should make things easier for the Lakers on both ends. While the Lakers offense was strong tonight, they have missed Schröder’s ball-pressure on opposing guards. One needs to only look at Russell Westbrook cracking 30 points for just the second time this season to see that more ball pressure could have been useful. Alex Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope couldn’t handle the job of Westbrook and Beal alone. Even when the Lakers get Schröder back, the Lakers may continue to have problems protecting the rim as they did tonight. Robin Lopez had his way to easy looks against Montrezl Harrell and also drew a key late foul against Marc Gasol, who is a great positional defender but lacks the above-the-rim presence of Davis. This problem will persist for a while because there are no easy answers other than hoping Anthony Davis is healthy when the chips are down.

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