Washington's Trevor Booker, left, celebrates in front of Lakers… (Rob Carr / Getty Images )
1. The Lakers' 106-101 loss Wednesday to the Washington Wizards featured poor late execution. This game became ugly in the second half, but the Lakers at least could've salvaged a win. Instead, the final moments went like this: Derek Fisher missed an open three-pointer. Pau Gasol didn't get back as the Wizards cashed in on transition. Kobe Bryant threw an off-balance three-pointer. Wizards guard Nick Young hit an open jumper for a 104-99 lead with 43 seconds left after Andrew Bynum failed to contest it. If these lapses sound familiar, it's because they are. The Lakers faltered late in the game in similar fashion Tuesday against Detroit. That's hardly a coincidence.
2. Bryant was a ball hog again. Bryant featured a different look. Instead of wearing the black mask, Bryant opted for the clear mask with a smaller strap. Unfortunately for the Lakers, Bryant's game looked as horrific as it did against Detroit. His 30 points on nine-of-31 shooting featured some problems similar to his eight-of-26 clip against Detroit. Bryant looked fatigued. His poor shooting involved 14 missed jumpers. His three-of-17 clip in the second half saw him shoot through double teams and early in the shot clock. It's one thing if Bryant is simply falling to fatigue. But he's also stubbornly hurting the Lakers' offense.
3. Bynum and Gasol under-utilized on offense, underwhelming on defense. Fault the Lakers for not getting them the ball enough. Their combined 38 points on 12-of-19 shooting showed the two were efficient in the post. Too bad they weren't used enough. But criticize both for lacking aggressiveness on the boards. They proved largely responsible for Washington's outrebounding the Lakers, 51-42. Considering they lack speed and discipline to keep up on transition defense, the Lakers can't afford not to dominate in this area.
4. The Lakers' bench was atrocious in the second half. At first the bench looked promising. Steve Blake logged six assists. Josh McRoberts made a surprise appearance and provided energy. Andrew Goudelock continued his sharp shooting. Then the second half happened. The bench proved largely responsible for the Wizards' cutting the Lakers' 21-point lead by going on a 26-7 run.
5. The Lakers blew an opportunity to rest. If the Lakers (23-16) squeaked out a win, they wouldn't have fallen to fifth place in the Western Conference standings with only a 2 1/2-game cushion over Houston for the final playoff spot. But the Lakers still wouldn't have been happy. The Lakers should have coasted to an easy win against Washington. Instead, Bryant and Gasol each logged 40 minutes.
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