Both teams struggled early, but good ball movement for the Lakers created two consecutive three-pointers by Wes Johnson and Jodie Meeks to give them a 8-6 lead. However, the Lakers were sloppy with the basketball and the Wizards were able to get easy opportunities in the paint. Nene capitalized on the Lakers’ poor defense with 12 points on 6-8 shooting. As a whole, the Wizards could not miss as they shot 73.3 percent from the field. Fortunately for the Lakers, they were 6-9 from behind the arc to keep it within reach. After the first quarter, the Lakers trailed 31-29.
Both teams continued to play to their strengths as the Wizards exploited the Lakers in the paint and Los Angeles continued making their three-pointers. Every time the Wizards were looking to extend their lead, the Lakers’ bench was able keep the deficit within one possession. Midway through the quarter, the Lakers went on an 11-2 run to lead by 3 points. However, the Wizards began making perimeter shots and regained the lead by 5 with two minutes remaining. To end the quarter, the Wizards were able to extend the lead to 7 before a much needed three by Wes Johnson. At the end of the first half, the Lakers trailed the Wizards 59-55.
The Lakers scored the first five points of the quarter and regained the lead at 60-59. While Steve Blake kept the Lakers in the game, Los Angeles gave up numerous offensive rebounds and fastbreak opportunities to lose the lead. Midway through the quarter, both teams are tied at 71 apiece and went back and forth. To end the quarter, the Wizards capitalized on Laker turnovers to extend their lead to 7 once again. With a Nick Young layup to end the quarter, the Lakers trailed 82-77.
On the first possession of the fourth, Xavier Henry made a three pointer to cut the lead down to 2. However, the Wizards responded with two straight threes to push the lead back to 8. Midway through the quarter, the Wizards committed a clear path foul on Jordan Farmar where he only converted one free throw, but Young made a three on the same possession to cut the lead to 2.
With less than three minutes, Farmar scored five straight points and a nice post move by Gasol lifted the Lakers by 1. However, John Wall responded with a jumper and the Lakers had two costly turnovers, including a 24 shot clock violation. With less than 30 seconds left, Wall made two free-throws to push the lead back to 5.
Gasol was able to complete the and-1 on the following possession and Wall missed a free-throw. With 18.1 seconds left, the Lakers had an opportunity to tie the game, but Young missed the shot.