A night after joking about wanting to face the Washington Generals, the Harlem Globetrotters’ longtime foils, Bryant almost got more than his team could handle against the Wizards.
Led by reserve Cartier Martin’s season-high 21 points, Washington led by as many nine points in the first half and, after trailing by as many 16 in the second, closed to 92-89 on Nene’s free throws with 51⁄2 minutes left in the game.
But Howard made a jump hook, and then, with 41⁄2 minutes remaining, Martell Webster was called for a foul on Bryant on a 3-point attempt, even though a replay appeared to show no contact.
“Controversial call. ... I don’t agree with it,” said Webster, who scored 17 points.
Said Wizards coach Randy Wittman: “I thought there were some very questionable calls down the stretch, but those things tend to do that — go their way.”
Bryant made all three free throws, and the Lakers were on their way, awkward offense and all.
Before tipoff, D’Antoni offered a less-than-flattering description of his team’s choreography.
“Every good offense is a rhythm, and our rhythm is offbeat right now,” D’Antoni said. “It’s like we’ve got two left shoes, trying to dance.”
D’Antoni had his players do a film session and walkthrough at a ballroom at their hotel.
“I felt like we had a pretty good feel of how Mike, today at morning brunch, kind of communicated how he wanted the offense to flow. Moving the ball, and if you have a shot, take it. If not, continue to let the ball hop,” Bryant said. “We got the message. We did a pretty good job of it. That’s why you saw Meeks have a big game.”
Neither of these teams is whole at the moment. The Lakers are still without Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, and Jordan Hill sat out Friday with back spasms. The Wizards have been without point guard John Wall, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, all season, and they’re also missing forwards Trevor Ariza and Trevor Booker, along with point guard A.J. Price, at the moment.