Bryant, Meeks help Lakers snap skid in win over Washington
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant racked up 30 points and got some needed support from Jodie Meeks as the Los Angeles Lakers stopped a four-game losing streak with a 102-96 decision over the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center.
Meeks scored a season-high 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting -- including 4-of-7 from 3-point range -- to offset an off-target night from Bryant and help the Lakers avoid their first five-game slide since April of 2011.
Bryant finished just 9-of-29 from the field and an ugly 1-of-8 from beyond the arc, but knocked down 11-of-13 free throw attempts to reach the 30-point mark for the 13th time this season.
Los Angeles had been 1-11 when Bryant hit that number thus far in 2012-13.
"It was the minimum we could do, but we did it," said Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni of the win. "Now we've won one, now we've got to try to win two."
Dwight Howard contributed a double-double to the win, amassing 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Cartier Martin poured in a season-best 21 points off the bench in the loss, Washington's fourth in five games. Martell Webster and Nene each ended with 17 points for the Wizards, with Kevin Seraphin adding 16 points and eight rebounds.
Down by as many as nine points during one stage of the second quarter, the Lakers began to take control of the contest over the latter portion of the first half.
Meeks led the charge, netting the first eight points of a 10-2 run that turned a 47-41 deficit into a 51-49 lead with 2:09 left before intermission. The Wizards pulled even on two occasions, but a 3-point play from Metta World Peace in the half's final minute put Los Angeles back on top and the Lakers would wind up carrying a 58-55 edge into the break.
Washington knotted the score on a Webster triple 17 seconds into the third quarter, but the Lakers responded with 10 consecutive points and never trailed thereafter.
The Wizards got as close as 68-64 when Seraphin capped a 6-0 spurt with a successful hook shot just past the midway mark of the period, but Los Angeles put together another 10-0 sequence to move in front comfortably. Bryant had the final eight points of the flurry, which he ended with a transition layup that extended the Lakers' lead to 78-64 with 2:23 remaining in the third quarter.
Meeks' 3-pointer sent Los Angeles into the final frame owning an 83-69 advantage, and the Lakers were up by as much as 16 early in the fourth quarter before Washington made a belated bid.
"He's a quick shooter, and when you put Dwight and Kobe in the post and you get him spotting up on the opposite side with a direct line of vision with the person in the post, and once that ball gets out he only needs a flash and a second to put it up," said Webster on Meeks. "He's just a great shooter."
The Wizards outscored Los Angeles by a 17-4 count over a six-plus minute stretch to place the outcome in doubt. Washington closed within 92-87 on Jordan Crawford's 3-point bucket with 6:16 left, and the differential dwindled to three after Nene hit a pair of foul shots on Washington's next possession.
Howard scored on the other end, however, and Bryant drew a 3-shot foul shortly afterward and connected on each bonus attempt to put Los Angeles up 97-89 heading into the last four minutes.
Washington never got as close as the final margin the rest of the way.
"We just didn't make a lot of shots as a unit, and we took a lot of bad ones as well," said Wizards guard Bradley Beal. "We had shots, we just didn't knock them down."
Martin was the unlikely star of the second quarter, producing 12 of his points during the stanza and enabling the Wizards to dominate the initial stages. His deep trey to open the period gave Washington a 28-27 lead, and the basket jump-started a 16-5 tear over the first 4 1/2 minutes of the quarter that briefly gave his team a 9-point cushion.
Martin also closed out the burst with a conventional 3-point play that put the Wizards ahead 41-32 with seven minutes remaining in the half.
Martin's 21 points were just one shy of a career high set at Miami on April 21 of last season ... Los Angeles has now won 10 of the last 11 meetings between the clubs and improved to 6-1 at the Verizon Center over that stretch .. Bryant's nine field goals gave him 10,520 for his career, which placed him past John Havlicek (10,513) for ninth place on the NBA's all-time list for that category ... Washington, which shot 43.4 percent compared to 45.1 for the Lakers, is now 0-16 this season when having a lower field goal percentage than the opposition.
12/14 23:39:57 ET