Bradley Beal scored six of his 33 points on three consecutive possessions late in overtime, and with a 127-124 victory over the slumping Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night, the Washington Wizards stretched their longest winning streak in three years to five straight.
In overtime, Russell Westbrook scored six of his 32 points for the Wizards, who recovered in the second half from a 17-point deficit. Washington then took advantage of LeBron James’s missed free throw late in regulation and went on to its first victory since March 2017 over the Lakers at Staples Center.
“It feels different, in a great way,” Beal said of the Wizards’ impressive five-game run against Boston, Houston, Denver, Portland and the Lakers. “It feels great, but at the same time, we still haven’t done a damn thing. We realize that, and we keep telling each other that. We’ve still got bad habits we need to break, but we don’t discount what we did.”
With 36 seconds remaining in overtime, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made a 3-pointer to trim the Wizards’ lead to 125-124. Before missing a free throw, Westbrook made a layup, but before the buzzer, James and Kyle Kuzma missed late 3s.
“It’s been tough, but we’ve been sticking together,” Westbrook said of the Wizards, who started the season 6-17. “That’s the main thing. If you get caught up with everything else going on, teams and players tend to come apart, but we’ve been sticking together and communicating on how to become a better team, and it’s been paying off for us.”
For the Lakers, who struggled in the second half of their fourth loss in five games, James had 31 points, 13 assists and 9 rebounds.
James made a winning layup with 9.8 seconds remaining in regulation after taking the Lakers back in the fourth quarter, but missed the resulting free throw to put LA ahead. At the buzzer, Beal missed a long jumper.
For the defending NBA champions, who have lost three straight for the first time this season, Montrezl Harrell had a season-high 26 points and nine rebounds-not accidentally during three consecutive games without Anthony Davis and Dennis Schröder.
“It takes a whole team to collectively get wins, and right now we have two of our main rotation guys out,” said Kuzma, who had 14 points. “Obviously there’s no excuses. You don’t want to lose to an under-.500 team like that, but this is the NBA and anybody can win. We just have to figure it out.”
Davis missed his fourth straight game, and the big All-NBA man is out with a calf injury for at least three more weeks. Under the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Schröder will miss at least one more game.