The Washington Wizards completed a 16-point comeback over the young, struggling Los Angeles Lakers to clinch the Southeast Division title. This is the first-time Washington has won the division title in 38 years.

The match-up against Los Angeles was a classic “trap game” for Washington. After coming off one of the best performances of the season in an away win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, being mentally disengaged is something the Wizards needed to avoid.

John Wall and the other starters for Washington came out engaged, and built a quick 10-point lead early in the first quarter. Wall was looking for his shot early, and was not hesitant in attacking the rim either.

The young Lakers did not give up though. They had a 14-3 run of their own in the first quarter, and were eventually able to come back and tie the game to end the first quarter. The defensive effort was there late in the first quarter for Los Angeles, highlighted by an emphatic rejection by David Nwaba.

Washington’s bench struggled tremendously early in the game, and allowed the Lakers to develop some offensive rhythm. The Lakers, who are ranked 22nd in three-point field goal percentage, went 6-10 from beyond the arc in the first half. D’Angelo Russell scored 20 points in the first-half and was 4-8 from beyond the arc and led Los Angeles to a 3-point lead at halftime.

The Lakers came out strong in the third quarter and where able to build up 16-point lead against Washington late in the third quarter. Washington was lethargic defensively, and allowed the Lakers to make 15 straight shots to end the third. Despite the awful quarter by Washington, they were able to cut the lead to four, five minutes into the 4th because of great effort by the bench.  The starters of Washington were then able to come in, and seal the deal and get a much needed win to keep pace with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics in the fight for the number one seed in the East.

Despite the lack of defensive intensity for the first three quarters, Washington was able to focus and hold the Lakers to only 13 points in the 4th quarter, and outscore them by 24 overall in the quarter as well.

Player of the Game: John Wall (34 points, 14 assists, 4 steals)

Honorable Mention: D’Angelo Russell (28 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds)

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