LOS ANGELES — Washington point guard John Wall had 28 points and 14 assists Friday night as the Wizards held on to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 117-107 at Staples Center.
A scuffle broke out with 2:14 left between Lakers swingman Nick Young and Wizards forward Drew Gooden, as they locked arms going for a rebound and violently tried to break apart. When Gooden fell to the floor, Young ran over and shoved him. Gooden was ejected on a flagrant foul, and Lakers forward Jordan Hill was ejected for his second technical foul of the night after he charged Wizards center Marcin Gortat.
Guard Bradley Beal added 18 points as Washington (36-33) snapped a two-game losing streak. Despite getting 21 points by Young, in his first game since Feb. 23, Los Angeles (22-46) lost four in its current streak, and its past three against the Wizards over two seasons. Guard Jodie Meeks also scored 21 for the Lakers.
Wall had assists on consecutive 3-pointers by forward Trevor Ariza and guard Bradley Beal to give the Wizards a 68-50 lead with 8:30 left in the third quarter. Washington led by 21 in the quarter, but Los Angeles cut its deficit to 87-81 going into the final quarter, when the Wizards led by 17 but had to hold off a late charge fueled by Meeks and Young.
The Lakers got the NBA’s oldest player, 40-year-old Steve Nash back on the court in a surprise development, since the guard at one point had been considered done for the season after playing just 10 games because of left-leg nerve irritation. A groin-muscle injury to back-up point guard Jordan Farmar prompted the decision. Nash, with his playing time restricted, finished with 11 assists and five points in a 19 minutes. He was the architect of the Lakers’ late third-quarter run with four assists to center Robert Sacre in a 20-10 spurt.
Washington built a 58-47 halftime lead, with Beal and Wall scoring 11 points apiece, and forward Al Harrington coming off the bench to score 11. Wall had nine first-half assists, all in the first quarter. Center Marcin Gortat, returning from a game lost to back spasms, had nine points, eight rebounds and two blocks in the first half.
Lakers reserve swingman Xavier Henry led his team with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Nash, in his first action since Feb. 11, had five assists, two points and three turnovers in a first-half stint lasting eight minutes, four seconds.
NOTES: Lakers PG Steve Nash (left leg nerve irritation) played in his first game since Feb. 11. Nash, 40, came off the bench for the first time since March 9, 2000, when he was with Dallas. He has played in just 11 games this season. Nash has one year left on his contract and says he intends to play next season. … Los Angeles also got PF Jordan Hill (right knee) and SG/SF Nick Young (left knee) back, but SF Wesley Johnson (upper-respiratory infection) was not available. … Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said Washington SF Trevor Ariza, a former Laker (2007-09), is “playing as well as he’s ever played.” The 10-year NBA veteran is shooting a career-best 42.2 percent from 3-point range. “It’s all about hard work and putting the time in,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said of Ariza, who is averaging 14.9 points and shooting 45.9 percent from the field, his best since his last season as a Laker. … Washington C Marcin Gortat (back spasms) returned after missing Thursday’s loss at Portland. He resumed his starting role, replacing C Kevin Seraphin. … Wizards C-PF Nene (left knee) missed his 13th consecutive game.
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