WASHINGTON -- Kobe Bryant scored 30 points and Jodie Meeks had 24 as the Los Angeles Lakers snapped their four-game losing streak with a 102-96 victory over the Washington Wizards on Friday night.
Dwight Howard totaled 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers (10-14), who entered the day five games under .500 for the first time since the 2004-05 season. Metta World Peace's offense sparked a second quarter rally that put Los Angeles ahead by three at halftime and Los Angeles took control with a 20-9 third quarter run.
Continuing to play through back spasms, Bryant shot 9 of 28 from the field and missed seven of eight attempts from beyond the arc. However the perennial All-Star made 11 of 13 free throws while grabbing seven rebounds and doling out a team-high seven assists. Bryant's feed set up Meek's 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter gave the Lakers their largest lead at 88-72.
Cartier Martin scored 15 of his season-high 21 points in the second quarter and Martell Webster had 17 points for the Wizards (3-17). Washington, losers of two straight, fought back as Nene and Webster combined for 12 points during a 17-4 run. Nene also scored 17 points and his free throws made the score 92-89 with 5:31 remaining, but the Wizards would get no closer.
Bryant made four of five free throws in the closing minutes and his racing tip-in of a Howard missed free throw with 1:21 left gave the Lakers a 102-93 lead.
After facing the Knicks on Thursday, the Lakers did not arrive to their hotel in Washington until after 3 a.m. That meant no morning shoot-around, just a film session and a spin around the hotel ballroom, rather an appropriate setting based on coach Mike D'Antoni described his team's recent offense.
"Our rhythm is offbeat right now," D'Antoni said before the game. "It's like we have two left shoes trying to dance. It's hurting our defense. It's hurting our overall spirit."
The Lakers found beat they could dance to in the first half, shooting 53.8 percent. Leading 58-55 starting the third quarter, Los Angeles surrendered a 3-pointer to Webster before surging ahead with a 10-0 run. After the Wizards countered with six straight points, the Lakers answered with another 10-0 run, the final eight points from Bryant.
Down 21-13 late in the first quarter, the Wizards overcame nine early turnovers and stormed ahead 41-32 midway through the second on the strength of Martin's unconscious shooting. Perfect on his first five field goal attempts, the veteran swingman drained four from beyond the arc and converted a mid-range floated. Drawing Howard's third foul of the half with 7:36 remaining, Martin's free throw capped the 28-11 run.
Notes: Wizards guard John Wall, who has yet to play this season because of a left knee injury, met with Dr. David Altchek. In a statement released by the team, Altchek said Wall "showed improvement in his stress injury that will allow him to begin ramping up his activity level." Before the game, Wittman noted that Wall will begin no-contact drills in a few days following a lubricating injection administered by Altchek on Friday. As for when the third-year guard might return to the team, Wittman said, "I have no idea. ... I wish I could give you that. It would help my mind." ... Pau Gasol missed his seventh straight game for the Lakers with knee tendinitis. Without him, Los Angeles' record is (2-5). ... Lakers forward Jordan Hill sat out with back spasms. ... Antawn Jamison, who spent five-plus seasons with the Wizards before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010, scored 0 points in his first game in Washington as a member of the Lakers.