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Davis leads Lakers to their 8th win in 9 games, scores 35 points in 125-120 victory over Wizards

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Anthony Davis scored 19 of his 35 points in the first quarter and had 18 rebounds, helping the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Washington Wizards 125-120 on Wednesday night for their eighth victory in nine games.

LeBron James had 25 points and nine assists, and Rui Hachimura scored 19 points for the Lakers against his former team. Davis was 10 of 17 from the field and made 15 free throws without a miss.

Jordan Poole led Washington with 29 points.

The Lakers are ninth in the Western Conference, meaning they’d have to win twice in the play-in tournament to make the main playoff bracket. But they’re making a push to move up. Los Angeles trailed Phoenix and Sacramento by 1 1/2 games entering Wednesday.

“We want to continue to play good basketball,” James said. “The postseason’s still kind of a ways away. … Postseason prep, all that other stuff is totally different from the regular season, so wherever we fall is where we fall.”

The Wizards are a loss shy of matching the franchise record of 63.

Washington was coming off a nice win over Milwaukee on Tuesday night, and the Wizards made their first five 3-point attempts against the Lakers. Washington led 19-8 early on, and the problems mounted for Los Angeles when Davis took a stray elbow to the nose from Wizards 7-footer Tristan Vukcevic and stayed down on the floor for a bit.

But Davis was able to play on, which was bad news for Washington. The Wizards didn’t have the size necessary to deal with him, and Davis dominated the rest of the quarter. By the time it was over, he’d already made 11 free throws, and the Lakers led 39-29.

Los Angeles led by seven at the half, then went on a 9-2 run to start the third quarter to take a 76-62 advantage. D’Angelo Russell scored 18 points for the Lakers, who went 5-1 on a six-game trip.

Washington pulled back within two in the fourth and was having some success with its zone defense before James spun around Jared Butler and dunked to make it 109-105. That started a 12-0 run.

“When we’re scoring at will, teams are going to try to get into a zone and try to slow us down,” Davis said. “We’ve got to be able to get to our zone offense to combat that.”

The Lakers had removed James and Davis, the game seemingly in hand, when the Wizards scored eight straight points to make it 125-120. After a Los Angeles turnover with 17.4 seconds remaining, James and Davis came back in.

Davis blocked a 3-point attempt by Butler and the Lakers held on.

“I hate the term garbage time,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “You’re playing in the NBA. There’s only so many spots, and you get a chance to play, even if it’s the last 50 seconds, go hard. Go hard or you stay home, pretty much.”

James was called for a flagrant foul when he made a spin move while driving to the basket and caught Deni Avdija with an elbow in the second quarter.

UP NEXT

Lakers: Host Cleveland on Saturday.

Wizards: Host Portland on Friday night.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba

By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer

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