Beal leads Wizards in 111-95 win over Kobe, Lakers
WASHINGTON (AP) Kobe Bryant got off to a fast start in the first quarter before slowing down in the second half.
Bryant scored 15 of his 20 first-half points in the opening quarter, and then missed all seven field-goal attempts in the second half as Washington clamped down on the Los Angeles Lakers' star in the Wizards' 111-95 victory Wednesday night.
Bryant finished with 29 points.
''He came out aggressive - just made me want to be aggressive as well. He made a lot of tough baskets on me tonight,'' Wizards guard Bradley Beal said.
Beal had 27 points as Washington used Paul Pierce on Bryant in the third quarter.
''We just tried to make it difficult on him, give him different looks every now and then, just try and keep him off-balance,'' Beal said.
Pierce had 14 points before leaving with a jammed left big toe late in the third. The veteran forward said it was ''inflamed,'' and had been bothering him for a few days.
Bryant and Pierce have a combined 34 years of NBA experience, and they exchanged pleasantries several times during the game.
''It's good banter. Being that we come from the same generation, we're probably the only ones in the league that can still trash talk,'' Bryant said.
Pierce was more concerned about Bryant's shooting instead of his chatter.
''I want to make him work,'' Pierce said. ''You're never going to stop him all the way.''
Marcin Gortat had 21 points and 11 rebounds while John Wall had 17 points and 15 assists for the Wizards, who won their third straight and prevented Los Angeles from getting its first three-game winning streak in more than a year.
Former Wizards player Nick Young helped keep the score relatively close by scoring a season-high 21 points.
The Wizards closed the first half by scoring seven straight and began the third quarter by scoring seven more for a 14-0 run to take a 61-52 lead with 9:24 to play in the period.
Bryant hit two free throws with 2:05 to play to cut Washington's lead to 97-93, but the Wizards outscored the Lakers 14-2 to pull away.
''Kobe, or players like him, figure you out after a period of time,'' Washington coach Randy Wittman said.
Kris Humphries had 20 rebounds, three short of his career high, as the Wizards outscored the Lakers 56-20 in the paint.
TWO MORE YEARS
Lakers: Coach Byron Scott hopes that he can convince Bryant to consider playing beyond next season, the last on his current contract.
''He's got a lot left in that tank. I think if we put something together that excites him, we have a real good chance of saying, `play another year,''' Scott said before the game.
Bryant said he'd think about it.
''If I want to play, I'll play. I tend to make my own decisions. If I don't want to play, I won't play,'' he said.
Pierce was impressed that Humphries had so many rebounds.
''I told Humphries, that's the reason he got paid. It wasn't that jump shot,'' Pierce said.
LAKERS:. G Jeremy Lin was scoreless, missing all 10 of his field goal attempts - including six 3-pointers. ... Los Angeles had a season-high 12 3-pointers
Wizards: F Nene missed his fifth straight game with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. ... Wittman was asked if he thought Young had changed. ''He still shoots a lot,'' Wittman said. ... Wall's 15 assists were a season high and one off his career high.
Lakers: At Celtics on Friday.
Wizards: Host Nuggets on Friday.