By Kevin R. Linares
Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol returned to the line up after sitting out with injuries but the Lakers could not defeat the Washington Wizards falling 100 to 103. Another game that should have been an easy win at home became another disappointing loss in the Lakers disappointing season. The Lakers were up by 18 at one point in the game but could not hold on to the lead. Washington was led by former Laker Trevor Ariza who scored 25 points, hitting seven 3-pointers.
Kobe Bryant hit a three to tie the game late in the 4th quarter and would get another opportunity to send the game to overtime with seconds left when he received a pass from Dwight but the shot did not go down. Kobe did not have his time reduced even though he was returning from an injury. He led his team in scoring with 21 points and added 11 assists as well. Dwight Howard, Jodie Meeks and Antawn Jamison joined Bryant in scoring double digits. Dwight Howard scored 20 points and had 15 rebounds. Meeks scored 16 points and Jamison put up 11 points coming off the bench. As the two stars returned from injury, the Lakers unfortunately suffered another one as Jamison sprained his right wrist. Jamison received an x-ray after the game that came out negative and will have an MRI on Saturday.
Pau Gasol only played 20 minutes but did start in the game scoring four points. Gasol still has to work on his conditioning after missing about six weeks with the injury to his foot. There was much criticism on Gasol and Mike D’Antoni earlier in the season. There were questions whether Gasol would be able to fit in D’Antoni’s system and if Mike would be able to find a way of utilize the Spaniard. As Gasol continues to work back into game shape it will be interesting to see if he will continue in the starting line up or perhaps move back to the bench where he did provide a big boost. Gasol was not too happy coming off the bench but did mention that he would take the role for the season if the team needed him to this season.
With the loss tonight the Lakers could not take advantage of better securing the 8th spot as they remain ahead of the Utah Jazz by only a game and a half. Next up for the Lakers is the start of a four game road trip starting on Monday against the 6th seeded Golden State Warriors.