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Anthony Davis had 40 points and 15 rebounds, LeBron James added 31 points and Los Angeles extended the Washington Wizards’ losing streak to 13 games with a 134-131 victory Thursday night.

James shifted the momentum permanently in the Lakers’ favor early in overtime when the 21-year veteran followed up his athletic block of Jordan Poole’s layup attempt by hitting a tying 3-pointer of his own with 3:12 to play. James then got his ninth assist on Davis’ dunk on the Lakers’ next possession, putting the Lakers ahead to stay.

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James is now nine points shy of becoming the first player in NBA history to score 40,000 after this grinding win for Los Angeles, which was already weary after rallying from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter to stun the Clippers on Wednesday night.

“We had to get some stops, and we had to execute offensively,” James said. “Not turn the ball over. It’s a tough league, and after last night’s victory, we had to come in against a young, scrappy team that’s not playing for much, just playing hard, a lot of speed, a lot of youth, and obviously it took us 53 minutes to get the job done.”

Despite a perpetually balky ankle that forced him to miss two games around the All-Star break, James returned to the court against Washington just a night after his 19-point fourth quarter against the Clippers.

The 39-year-old James is all but certain to hit his 40,000-point milestone Saturday on national television against defending champion Denver.

D’Angelo Russell scored 22 points for the Lakers, who never managed to pull away during their ninth victory in 12 games. Los Angeles hasn’t been able to move higher than ninth in the Western Conference despite its impressive February.

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“We’re in a race right now, and we’re continuously just trying to get better, work on ourselves and get healthy,” Davis said. “And while doing it, staying in the fight, staying in the hunt.”

LeBron, Lakers given 20% chance to advance to 2024 NBA Finals

LeBron, Lakers given 20% chance to advance to 2024 NBA Finals

Poole scored a season-high 34 points and Marvin Bagley III added a season-high 23 for the Wizards, who are three losses shy of matching the longest skid in franchise history despite this encouraging effort against the Lakers.

Washington missed five straight shots and made two turnovers down the stretch in overtime, going scoreless in the final 3:50.

“I thought it was great,” Wizards coach Brian Keefe said. “We talked about playing closer to 48 minutes of basketball consistently, and I thought our guys played 53 minutes tonight. We played the whole game. … Our guys played hard, consistent, shared the ball, did the things we were asking the whole game. Just didn’t get the win.”

Former Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma scored 20 points, but missed a tying 3-point attempt with eight seconds left in overtime. Corey Kispert also had 20 points for Washington.

The Wizards led for most of the first three quarters, and they rallied from an eight-point deficit in the fourth. Washington led 126-124 with 43 seconds left in regulation after Poole drained his fifth 3-pointer of the night, but Austin Reaves tied it for LA with a fadeaway jumper.

Poole missed a 31-footer at the regulation buzzer.

Are LeBron, Lakers legit after 21-point comeback win vs. Clippers?

Are LeBron, Lakers legit after 21-point comeback win vs. Clippers?

“I’m proud of our guys, just for the way we at least closed the game,” Poole said. “We fought. … Good look (to end regulation). Look I wanted. Just a little bit off to the left. I’d shoot it again.”

D’Angelo Russell scored 22 points for the Lakers.

Wizards rookie Bilal Coulibaly missed his second straight game with a bruised right pelvis, but Deni Avdija returned from a three-game absence with a bruised left heel.

Cam Reddish missed the second half for the Lakers after playing four minutes in the first half. He only returned Wednesday from a five-week absence due to an ankle injury, and coach Darvin Ham said he had soreness in his ankle.

UP NEXT

Wizards: At Clippers on Friday night.

Lakers: Host Denver on Saturday night.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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