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Nene, Wall leads Wizards past Lakers

The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- Injured Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant talked about his new contract extension pregame. Once the game tipped and over the closing minutes, Washington Wizards point guard John Wall and power forward Nene provided a wealth of offense as their team prevailed 116-111 on Tuesday night .

Wall scored 13 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter and Nene had a career-high 30 points.

Wall notched his third straight game with at least 30 points for the Wizards (6-8), who have won four of five games. Small forward Martell Webster scored 20 points and center Marcin Gortat scored 15 as Washington snapped Los Angeles' three-game winning streak.

Guard Jordan Farmar made 9 of 11 shots, including three of the Lakers' 13 3-pointers and finished with 22 points. Los Angeles (7-8) had seven players score in double figures including center Pau Gasol with 17.

"Well, there wasn't a lot of defense played in this game," said Wizards coach Randy Wittman after both teams shot 53 percent from the field. "It's anyone's game down the stretch and we made some plays."

The Wizards matched their season-high point total despite the absence of leading scorer and starting guard Bradley Beal. Washington instead ran their offense through Nene in the first half and the Brazilian big man scored 19 points before halftime.

Asked about scoring 30 points for the first time in his 12-year career, Nene said, "I feel like wine; get old, get better. I think that's a better taste. It was my taste tonight."

Webster's 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter gave Washington its largest lead at 96-87, but the Lakers rallied . Gasol's layup with 1:54 remaining gave Los Angeles its first lead of the period at 108-107. Wall's jumper 20 seconds later put the Wizards in front for good and started a 6-0 spurt. Wall made five of six free throws in the final 29 seconds before the crowd of 19,204.

Before the game, Bryant spoke with media for the first time since reports surfaced that the Lakers signed their franchise star to a two-year, $48.5 million extension.

"My understanding is that that there was really no negotiations," the five-time NBA champion said when asked about his role in the negotiations. "The Lakers came up with the structure, the system and the plan that they thought was a win-win for everybody involved. From my perspective, it was very easy to just accept it. It was pretty quick."

The 35-year-old tore his Achilles tendon in April and has only recently returned to practice. Bryant wouldn't set a target date for his season debut, but acknowledged the need for more practices before game action. The Lakers have four days off before playing at Sacramento on Dec. 6.

The organization didn't need to wait for his return before agreeing to the extension.

"It makes me want to run through a wall for them," Bryant said. "It adds more fuel to the fire to be able to come out and prove to everybody that they're right. Everybody else is wrong."

The Lakers have survived overall without their best player, but fell to 1-5 on the road.

"It's a concern," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said about the road record. "We have to learn how to win with this team. It's just put together and we don't have one thing that we go to all the time, but we'll get it straight. They're playing hard and they're together and we should have won tonight."

Earlier in the day, the Wizards announced Beal has been diagnosed with a stress injury in his right fibula and will miss at least two weeks. Beal missed several games last season with a similar injury.

"We're taking the right precautions," Wittman said. "Take a couple of weeks off, and hopefully that will do the trick."

The Wizards led 59-55 at halftime as both teams shot over 57 percent from the field. The Lakers made 8 of 13 three-point attempts before halftime.

All 10 starters in the game scored at least 10 points. Forward Trevor Ariza replaced Beal in the starting lineup after missing the last five games with a strained right hamstring and scored 13 points.

Ex-Wizard Nick Young scored 16 points and fellow guard Steve Blake had 15 for the Lakers.

NOTES: During his pregame press conference, Lakers G Kobe Bryant was asked about fan reaction that centers on his contract extension not leaving the team enough financial flexibility over the next two seasons. "They are fans and have good intentions, good spirit about it, but I don't think they understand the cap or what strategically the Lakers are trying to do better than the Lakers, Bryant said. "I think we'll be all right." ... Lakers C Chris Kaman missed his third straight game with a sore back. ... Wizards F Chris Singleton was on the active roster and played for the first time this season after suffering a fractured left foot this offseason. ...The Lakers face the Nets on Brooklyn on Wednesday. ...Washington opens a two-game road swing against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.
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