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Wall, Wizards rally past Lakers
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Even with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol back in the lineup, the Los Angeles Lakers failed to hold an 18-point lead.
John Wall had 24 points and a career-high 16 assists, and the Washington Wizards beat the Lakers, 103-100, Friday night.
Trevor Ariza netted 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter for the Wizards, who were down 59-41 a minute into the third quarter.
"In the second half we saw we could get out and run with confidence, even being down 18," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "We moved the ball and made shots down the stretch."
Bryant missed the previous two games with an ankle sprain and Gasol had sat out the last 20 with a foot problem. Bryant had 21 points and 11 assists, but his potential tying 3-point shot at the buzzer hit off the rim. Gasol had just four points and eight rebounds.
Dwight Howard totaled 20 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who have lost back-to-back contests. They're 1 1/2 games ahead of Utah for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
"You can't be a good basketball team without passing the basketball," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We're fooling ourselves if we think we're a good basketball team. Somebody has to say 'enough is enough' and no one is saying that."
The Wizards, winners in five of their last six games, saw their lead trimmed to 101-100 following a Bryant 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left. The Wizards were then nearly given a 5-second call for not getting the ball inbounds, but were awarded a timeout.
Wall then hit two from the charity stripe with 1.5 seconds left.
Howard delivered a perfect baseball pass to Bryant, but his 3-point shot from the right wing was off the mark.
Earlier, the Wizards faced a giant deficit, but were able to use ball penetration and kick outs for big perimeter shots. Kevin Seraphin's jumper closed the gap to 63-57 midway through the third quarter.
"We didn't do a good job closing out shooters or rotating on the back side," Bryant said. "Our defense intensity slipped a great deal in the second half."
By the quarter's end, it was 74-72 thanks to Wall's layup in the closing seconds.
The Wizards, who were behind by 16 at the end of the opening quarter and 57-41 at the half, took their first lead of the night at 81-79 on Ariza's layup.
"Today was my son's birthday and I wanted to do something special for him," Ariza said. "I had a lot of open looks and tonight they went in. We had to do it by committee and that's what we did."
It was a seesaw battle from there, but Washington went ahead for good at 98-97 on Nene's hook shot in the lane that banked off the glass and went in with 1:23 remaining.
Nene sank 1-of-2 from the foul line and Metta World Peace was whistled for an offensive foul with 34.9 seconds left. Wall hit two foul shots to create a four-point lead with 4.3 seconds to go.
The Lakers face an upcoming four-game road trip, starting at Golden State Monday ... The Wizards conclude a four-game road trip against the Warriors Saturday ... Lakers forward Antawn Jamison left the contest due to a sprained right wrist ... Nene had 15 points, Martell Webster 13 and Seraphin 12 ... Jodie Meeks scored 16 for the Lakers ... The Wizards won for just the second time in the last 12 meetings.
03/23 01:48:57 ET
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