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Jodie Meeks #20 and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate during the closing minutes of the Lakers 102-96 win over the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center on December 14, 2012 in Washington, DC.
The Lakers beat the Washington Wizards 102-96 on Friday night.
Before Lakers Nation starts celebrating its first victory in what seems like a decade, it is worthwhile to consider what a 6-point win over the 3-17 Washington Wizards means. The Lakers are officially not playing the worst basketball in the NBA. Now, feel free to celebrate.
After the loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were 4-17 entering that game, the Lakers playing the worst basketball in the NBA was up for debate. After beating the worst team in the NBA on their home floor by a massive 6 points, the Lakers have proven that they are currently built well enough to avoid finishing dead last.
The purple and gold have two wins in their last eight games, and both wins have come against bottom feeders. Along with the Wizards, the Lakers also won a road game against the New Orleans Hornets, currently dead last in the Western Conference.
For those few fans who were able to spend the early evening watching the Lakers take on the Wizards, they witnessed the Lakers open up a nine point lead in the first quarter before promptly allowing it to dissipate into a 9-point deficit in the second quarter.
However, an out-of-character strong finish to the first half led by Jodie Meeks resulted in a 3-point lead at the break. Meeks continued to light it up when he entered the game in the third period.
In the first minute of the fourth quarter, Meeks hit two jumpers to give the Lakers a 16-point lead. Meeks was on fire, shooting 9-13 with 24 points to that point. For the remaining 11 minutes, Meeks’ hot hand stayed on the floor, but he only got one more shot at the basket.
Instead, the Lakers resorted to Kobe Bryant isolation basketball. Kobe shot 2-9 in the final period, and the Lakers’ 16 point lead with 11 minutes remaining quickly turned into a three point game with five and a half minutes remaining.
Still, the Lakers did not adjust. The ball stopped moving. Once it reached Kobe’s hands, the ball stopped. Were it not for a couple bad calls (including Kobe acting his way to three free throws), the Lakers may well have ended up dropping this game.
“We’re not there. We’re not even close to being a good team,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said after the game.
No worries, Mike, no one watching this rare Lakers win will disagree with you on that one.