NBA

Wizards Defeat the Lakers in Overtime Behind Strong Performances from Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal

Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (4) moves to the basket and is fouled by Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) during overtime at Staples Center.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After a rough start to the season, the Washington Wizards have slowly begun to turn their season around. The 127-124 overtime win over the Los Angeles Lakers means that the Wizards have now won 5 in a row.

Westbrook Comes Through for the Wizards

Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (4) reacts after scoring a basket and drawing a foul against the Los Angeles Lakers during overtime at Staples Center
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Wizards stars’ performance tonight was what Washington envisioned when they made the blockbuster move to acquire Russell Westbrook from the Rockets in the offseason. Westbrook finished just short of a triple-double with 32 points, 14 rebounds, and 9 assists. He capped his strong performance off nicely with an and-1 finish with 14 seconds remaining in overtime to put the Wizards ahead by 3.

The strong performance came as a result of Westbrook playing to his strengths. 19 of Westbrooks’ 25 shots tonight came from inside the restricted area. Westbrook plays his best basketball when he drives hard to the rim and finishes in the lane. Westbrook has been stringing together strong performances as of late. In his last 5 games, Westbrook is averaging 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists per game while limiting his three-point attempts to almost none.

Bradley Beal turned in another strong performance for the Wizards. He finished with 33 points on the night while shooting 40% from beyond the arc. Beal has cooled off since his red hot start to the season. With that being said, he is still averaging an outstanding 30 points and 5.4 rebounds per game during February.

LeBron James finished with 31 points and 13 assists in the loss. The Lakers struggled from three on the night, shooting just 34.1% on 44 attempts. The team has also struggled to replace the output of star forward Anthony Davis. Last week, the Lakers announced that Davis might be out up to 4 weeks as he deals with Achilles tendonitis. While Davis will likely return for the playoffs, players like Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will need to step up in a big way offensively until he returns to lighten the load for James.

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