Wall, Nene help Wizards past Kobe-less Lakers
WASHINGTON — The Los Angeles Lakers are playing the waiting for Kobe game — trying to stay respectable without one of the NBA’s all-time greats.
Los Angeles had its three-game winning streak broken, 116-111 by the Washington Wizards, while Kobe Bryant, who signed a two-year contract extension Monday, watched on television from the locker room.
Wearing his practice shorts and a sweatshirt, Bryant looked as if he was ready to return to action.
After the Lakers signed the fourth-leading scoring in NBA history to a two-year contract extension, Bryant said he can’t wait to play.
“The Lakers came up with the structure — a system and a plan they thought was a win-win for everybody involved. From my perspective, it was very easy to accept it,” Bryant said.
His teammates nearly pulled out another win against a team with two hot players, John Wall, who had 31 points, and Nene, who scored a career-high 30 on 13-for-22 shooting.
Washington guard Bradley Beal has another stress injury in his right leg and will be sidelined for at least two weeks.
• Even just 16 games into the new season, one thing had become abundantly clear in Minnesota: Derrick Williams wasn’t fitting in with the Timberwolves.
Coach Rick Adelman was playing him only as a matter of last resort despite a glaring need for help off the bench, and Williams was growing increasingly frustrated with the sporadic minutes.
With all that in mind, new Wolves President Flip Saunders swallowed hard and made the decision to part with the former No. 2 overall draft pick, sending him to Sacramento for defensive specialist Luc Mbah a Moute.
“Through our training camp, through practices and through the games, we pretty much saw what we needed to see,” Saunders said. “I really believe that we came to the conclusion that he really was a power forward. His transition to the small forward just wasn’t beneficial to him or us. Our best player being Kevin Love, it was time to move on.”
• Arron Afflalo scored 26 points, Victor Oladipo and Andrew Nicholson each scored 18, and Orlando snapped a 17-game road losing streak with a 109-92 victory in Atlanta.
• Former Washington State standout Klay Thompson scored 22 points and tied a career high with eight assists, and visiting Golden State defeated New Orleans, 102-101. Golden State reserve center Ognjen Kuzmic is expected to miss at least six weeks after undergoing surgery on his fractured right hand.