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    LeBron leads Lakers past Wiz 124-106 for back-to-back wins

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lance Stephenson stepped on Jeff Green’s foot and then stepped back, releasing a perfect 20-foot jumper while the Washington defender stumbled and nearly fell.

    Staples Center roared and the Los Angeles Lakers’ bench lost its collective mind, leaping and sprinting in all directions to celebrate one incredible crossover.

    After every disappointment in this lost season, the Lakers and their fans are grateful for any bit of fun — and for every win they can get.

    LeBron James had 23 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds, and the Lakers beat the Wizards 124-106 on Tuesday night for their first back-to-back victories since mid-January.

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 29 points and JaVale McGee had 20 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who had lost 20 of 27 and plummeted out of the playoff race since their last set of consecutive wins.

    “It’s been difficult knowing that mathematically we’re not going to be in the postseason,” James said. “That’s like March Madness for college kids for me. But when I suit up, it’s all business. I never change my approach, and I try to go out and make every play.”

    Two days after beating Sacramento, the Lakers comfortably won this meeting of 11th-place teams whose playoff dreams have been wrecked by injuries. Washington has lost John Wall and Dwight Howard, while the Lakers don’t have Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart or Reggie Bullock.

    Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (C) goes up for a dunk as Washington Wizards’ Jabari Parker and Tomas Satoransky look on. – AP

    “We know if we were healthy, what we would have been,” Caldwell-Pope said. “Unfortunately, injuries got the best of us. But we’re still going out and having fun.”

    Bradley Beal scored 21 of his 32 points in the second half for the Wizards, who opened a four-game road trip with their fifth straight loss. Washington (30-45) is on the brink of missing the playoffs for just the second time in six seasons.

    “We’ve got to get some of these wins, even if they don’t mean anything,” Beal said.

    The Lakers are out for the sixth consecutive season, tripling the previous longest post-season absence in franchise history.

    Los Angeles opened a 19-point lead in the third quarter despite Beal’s 17 points in the period. Washington trimmed it to single digits midway through the fourth, but James and Caldwell-Pope hit big shots down the stretch.

    “We don’t like the way we played tonight,” Washington coach Scott Brooks said. “We put our heads down when the shots didn’t fall, and when you also don’t get back on defence, that’s a bad combination.”

    Green looked foolish at first glance on Stephenson’s epic crossover move. Replays showed Stephenson had to step on Green’s foot to make it happen, but that didn’t dampen the fun.

    “It was just a little tap, man,” Stephenson laughed. “I ain’t going to bail him out on that.”

    Green took it all in stride.

    “I can confirm that he did step on my foot, but run with it,” Green said with a smile. “I don’t care. He crossed me, if that makes everybody happy.”

    James, Green’s former teammate in Cleveland, wasn’t surprised by his reaction.

    “If there was one guy that could care less about that happening to him, it would be Jeff,” James said.

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