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Lakers Takeaways: Poor Defense Spoils LeBron James’ Milestone

The Lakers offered no resistance on defense, allowing the struggling Washington Wizards to prevail and Kristaps Porzingis to dominate the fourth quarter.

The Lakers were a terrible defensive team all season, and on a night that LeBron James made history by scoring 38 points and becoming the NBA’s second-leading scorer with 36,947 points in his 19-year career, beating Karl Malone (36,928 ) passed ), the Lakers couldn’t celebrate the win to the fullest because their defense failed them again.

“You have to have a lockdown defense in the fourth and we didn’t have that tonight,” said coach Frank Vogel. “We didn’t defend well enough in the last three quarters.”

The Lakers began to slip on defense in the second quarter and continued to go downhill during their 127-119 loss to the Wizards.

They gave the Wizards 32 points in the second, 35 in the third, and 34 in the fourth.

The Lakers’ porous defense allowed the Wizards to make 56.5% of their shots in the third and 63.2% in the fourth. For the game, the Wizards shot 51.8% from the field.

Then there was Porzingis.

He used his 7-foot-3 frame to take the game in the fourth and scored 16 of his 27 points. He was six to seven in the quarter, a force the Lakers couldn’t stop.

“Kristaps started it, capitalizing on what we were doing,” said Carmelo Anthony.

As a result of a Lakers defense that entered the game ranked 26th in points allowed (113.8), they have just a half-game lead over the New Orleans Pelicans for the ninth set in the Western Conference.

Westbrook has another good game

Lakers guard Russell Westbrook screams during a game against the Timberwolves.

Lakers guard Russell Westbrook scored 22 points against the Wizards on Saturday.

(Andy Clayton-King / Associated Press)

Russell Westbrook jumped and snatched an offensive rebound over Porzingis, his eighth rebound of the game, and threw a no-look pass to a slicing Stanley Johnson, who was fouled by Porzingis on a layup attempt.

Westbrook smiled with a look of delight at how he and the Lakers played while building a 14-point lead in the third quarter.

Westbrook continued his strong showing in Toronto Friday night with 22 points in 10-for-15 shooting, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

“I’m just trying to play and see how best I can fit into our group every night,” said Westbrook, who also had five turnovers. “It can be a combination of different things I can do on the floor, so I try to do that when I can.”

https://www.latimes.com/sports/lakers/story/2022-03-20/lakers-wizards-takeaways-defense-lebron-james-scoring-list Lakers Takeaways: Poor Defense Spoils LeBron James’ Milestone

Andrew Schnitker

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