Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Kobe Works Magic vs. Wizards

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Kobe Works Magic vs. Wizards

Article excerpt

Straining to work out the kinks in an offense coach Mike D'Antoni compared to dancing with two left feet, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers even struggled to put away the Washington Wizards.

A night after joking about wanting to face the Washington Generals, the Harlem Globetrotters' longtime foils, Bryant scored 30 points, and reserve Jodie Meeks added 24, helping the Lakers beat the Wizards 102-96 Friday in Washington to end a four-game losing streak.

Slowed by foul trouble, Dwight Howard finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds, and the Lakers improved to 10-14.

Cartier Martin scored a season-high 21 points for Washington, which fell to an NBA-worst 3-17.

But the Wizards led by as many nine points in the first half and, after trailing by as many 16 in the second, closed to 92-89 on Nene's free throws with 5 1/2 minutes left in the game.

Los Angeles pulled away from there, despite D'Antoni's less-than- flattering description before the game.

"Every good offense is a rhythm, and our rhythm is offbeat right now," D'Antoni said. "It's like we've got two left shoes, trying to dance."

Playing on the second consecutive night, D'Antoni had his players do a film session and walkthrough at a ballroom at their hotel before facing Washington.

After his team's 116-107 loss against the Knicks Thursday, Bryant opined: "At this point, I wish we had the Washington Generals on our schedule."

Instead, they got the Wizards, who actually took a 41-32 lead on Martin's three-point play with 7 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter. That's when Bryant, who's dealing with a bad back, returned to the floor after resting for the start of the period. That's also when Howard sat with three fouls.

The Lakers outscored the hosts, 26-14, the rest of the half to lead, 58-55, at the break.

Neither of these teams is whole at the moment.

The Lakers are still without Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, and Jordan Hill sat out Friday with back spasms. …

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