Originally created 03/03/98

Wizards pound slumping Lakes



WASHINGTON -- Chris Webber had 31 points as the Washington Wizards handed the slumping Los Angeles Lakers their second straight loss, 96-86 Monday night.

Shaquille O'Neal had 28 points and 15 rebounds, but Los Angeles could not rebound from Sunday's 101-89 loss to the New York Knicks. The Lakers, who are without injured point guard Nick Van Exel, lost for the sixth time in 11 games.

The Wizards recovered from their worst loss of the season, a 103-77 drubbing by Dallas on Saturday.

The Lakers, the NBA's worst free-throw shooting team, were just 12-for-22 from the line, including 6-for-11 in the fourth quarter. O'Neal was 4-for-9.

The victory put the Wizards above the .500 mark and into ninth place in the Eastern Conference. Washington improved to 3-3 with one game to go in its longest homestand of the season.

Calbert Cheaney had 21 points and eight rebounds, while Rod Strickland had 19 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Strickland also helped hold Kobe Bryant to four points on 4-for-7 shooting.

Eddie Jones had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Los Angeles, which finished a six-game road trip at 3-3.

Webber, who also had 10 rebounds, eight assists and three blocks, scored the first five points in an 11-4 run that ended the third quarter and put the Wizards ahead for good at 74-67.