When the Lakers needed big plays down the stretch against Washington on Wednesday, their young players delivered.
Lonzo Ball piloted the attack, Brandon Ingram was clutch and Julius Randle played like a monster on both ends, as the Lakers gifted the Wizards their first loss of the year.
Here are the plays that shifted the game to L.A.’s favor.
Starting the avalanche
With 26 seconds left and down by four, Lonzo Ball got out in transition and found an easy path to the hoop. Rather than try a layup, he punished Washington center Marcin Gortat for unnecessarily following him into the paint.
As Gortat jogged to catch up with Ball, his man, Julius Randle, found himself 15 feet away from the closest defender at the top of the arc.
A split-second earlier, Ball had already seen Gortat had abounded Randle.The power forward caught the ball and shot in rhythm to swish only his second 3-point attempt of the year.
BI ties it up
Trailing by two with five seconds remaining, the Lakers gave Brandon Ingram an iso possession at the top of the arc.
He was well-defended by Kelly Oubre Jr. and forced to let go of a wild shot that bounced high off the backboard. But his 7-foot-3 wingspan saved the game as he reached above a horde of four other players to putt the ball through the net and force overtime.
“On that particular play, I knew exactly where the ball was coming off of,” Ingram said at Thursday’s practice. “… I just used my length to tap it back in. There’s always a way.”
Knocking down the Wall
Randle only saw six minutes of game time through the first three quarters, but his high-energy play forced head coach Luke Walton to keep him on the floor in the fourth and overtime.
While his 3-pointer toward the end of regulation was enormous, he really left his mark with two big stops on one of the league’s top weapons: John Wall.
Midway through overtime, Randle found himself switched onto Wall — the NBA’s fastest player and a 23-points-per-game scorer.
Randle showed excellent footwork sealing off Wall’s initial drive and then rose up to swat away his fadeaway at the end of the shot clock.
“The fact that he can keep (Wall and Bradley Beal) in front and make them have to score contested two-point shots is pretty impressive on his part,” Walton said.
Then, with the Wizards looking to take the lead in the final 15 seconds, Wall got the ball on an out-of-bounds play that gave him three steps on his defender and a ton of momentum coming downhill.
But Randle recognized the danger (while rookie Kyle Kuzma smartly slid over to take Randle’s man, Gortat) and set up outside of the restricted area.
Wall — who made more layups than anyone in the league last year — was stuffed again by Randle, who went straight up without fouling and knocked the ball off of his opponent for a change of possession.
Randle also played a big part in the game-winning basket that preceded his second block on Wall.
Trailing by two with a minute left, Randle located himself in a cluster with Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, while Lonzo Ball waited for Walton’s well-designed play to develop.
As Ball sauntered toward the group, KCP picked Kuzma’s defender, forcing a switch. He then darted to the corner, where Randle set a sturdy screen that resulted in an open 3-pointer for the lead.
“Coaches have been on (Randle) a lot about just screening,” Caldwell-Pope said. “(Since) a couple of games before, he’s been setting good screens. That’s what gets him going and gets the guards wide-open shots as well.”