Key Legislature: Wizards 111 vs Lakers 95 — A Tale of Two Runs | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Key Legislature: Wizards 111 vs Lakers 95 — A Tale of Two Runs

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Updated: December 4, 2014

Truth About It.net’s Key Legislature: a quick run-down and the game’s defining moment(s) for Washington Wizards contest No. 17 versus the Los Angeles Lakers in the District of Columbia, via Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace) from the Verizon Center.

DC Council Key Legislature

by Adam Rubin.

Los Angeles did not have a shootaround before the game because they played the night before in Detroit. Kobe did not step on the court for pre-game warmups until 6:53 p.m., when he slowly walked on the court, stretched his arms and shot a 10-foot set shot. He went through the motions for a few minutes, calmly tossing the ball to himself for turnaround jumpers. It was the same amount of pre-game energy you would expect in a Sunday morning rec league. But it was not an accurate indicator of things to come. Like any true diva, Kobe knows the show does not start until the cameras are on.

He unleashed a barrage of turnaround jumpers to start the game that ignited the Lakers’ displaced faithful. Bryant took particular delight in manhandling Bradley Beal. Kobe treated Beal like his little brother on the playground, demanding the ball when Beal checked him and backing him down into the paint for routine turnaround jumpers.

Kobe ended his first quarter onslaught with back-to-back long-range 3s, giving him 15 points on 6-for-11 shooting. It felt a little like the Jordan years in the Phone Booth when M.J. would make his first few shots and a palpable buzz filled the crowd as fans wondered if they were seeing something special.

The Lakers did not slow down when Kobe was on the bench. Like a WWE tag team duo, Kobe metaphorically slapped Nick Young’s hand as he exited the ring. Young, playing the role of a heel, entered the game to a chorus of boos but quickly won over the crowd with his unbridled enthusiasm for shot attempts. Young hit three 3-pointers, each punctuated by a celebratory hand gesture, and the last of which giving Los Angeles a 10-point lead, 44-34, with 7:22 remaining in the second quarter. The Lakers would expand their lead by one more point a couple minutes later on a Wesley Johnson 3-pointer, the team’s eighth—and last—3-pointer of the first half.

But that’s where the party ended.

Washington closed the first half on an explosive 18-5 run, punctuated by nine Bradley Beal points. The tide—and the scoreboard—turned for good with 1:30 remaining when Randy Wittman switched Beal’s older brother, Paul Pierce, onto Kobe. Unable to outmuscle Pierce, Bryant settled for a contested turnaround jumper that was blocked into the hands of Gortat, who tossed the ball ahead to Wall for a one-man fast break. Wall drove straight to the rim on Jeremy Lin then kicked it to Beal on the wing for an open 3-pointer that tied the game at 52-52. On the next possession Wall rebounded an ill-advised Jordan Hill jumper and streaked down the court past the backpedalling Lakers defenders. When he hit the 3-point line, Wall bounced the ball backwards between his legs to a trailing Beal who faked a 3-pointer then drove uncontested to the rim. Advantage Washington. That was the final lead change of the night.

The halftime intermission did not cool off the Wizards. Washington started the third quarter on a 7-0 run that prompted a quick Byron Scott timeout. The lead ballooned to 13 before Kobe walked to the bench and his tag team partner, Swaggy P, took center stage. Young scored 12 points in eight minutes with Kobe watching from the sidelines, cutting Washington’s lead to a measly four points when Bryant finally re-entered the game with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

The lead remained at four with under two minutes remaining before Washington exploded for a highly-entertaining, highlight-filled, game-ending 14-2 run that got the Verizon Center crowd on its feet. Kobe was in spectacular me-against-the-world form as the game slipped out of reach.

With 1:23 remaining and the Lakers still within striking distance down 99-93, Kobe dribbled the ball four times in a row between his legs before missing a contested 3-pointer, then stood flat-footed as Wall ran past him in the other direction for a two-on-one break, resulting in a Gortat slam. Kobe took the ensuing inbounds pass and attempted to back down Wall in the paint before falling down untouched and tossing the ball in the direction of Kris Humphries, who started a three-on-two fast break that ended with a Rasual Butler dunk. Bryant’s stats for Los Angeles’ last five possessions: 0-for-2 from the field with two turnovers. Wall ended the night in grand fashion with a four-point play courtesy of an unnecessary foul by—you guessed it—Kobe.

A good time was had by all at the Verizon Center—except for those bandwagon Lakers fans. But, as Kris Humphries told the celebrating crowd, “It feels good to send Lakers fans out of here not feeling so good.”

 

The Bullets.

  • In the closing seconds of the first quarter, Kevin Seraphin found himself isolated on Nick Young at the top of the key. The result: a buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Young said after the game, “It was the first 3-pointer I made. It was on Kevin Seraphin. I said ‘ I’m going to try it.’ He was talking trash before the game. I like to be competitive and get the jawing going.” Seraphin actually defended the shot well. He explained in the post-game locker room: “It was pretty contested, it was far and contested. I know him but I was still surprised that he made it.”
  • Young was asked after the game how it felt to get so many cheers from the D.C. crowd. Young responded that he heard a lot of boos, too.
  • Kobe seemed surprisingly upbeat after the game. He sat patiently at his locker for the longest media session by far.
  • Young is becoming more and more like Kobe every day. He refused to do pre-game interviews, just like his more storied teammate. But in true Nick Young form, he declined the request with a big smile.

 

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Adam Rubin
Reporter / Writer at TAI
Adam grew up in the D.C. area and has been a Washington Bullets fan for over 25 years. He will not refer to the franchise as anything other than the Bullets unless required to do so by Truth About It editorial standards. Adam spent many nights at the Capital Centre in the ‘90s where he witnessed such things as Michael Jordan’s “LaBradford Smith game,” the inexcusable under-usage of Gheorghe Muresan’s unstoppable post moves, and the basketball stylings of Ledell Eackles.