Yet Los Angeles still muddled through a victory that could have been a whole lot smoother without the hometown kid causing so much commotion.
At times during an otherwise dispassionate game, Young seemed to be the only player having any fun. The former USC guard hit a career-best six 3-pointers while scoring a season-high 30 points for the Wizards, who closed the third quarter on a 16-1 run to make the two-time defending champions uncomfortable.
"We know when Nick Young comes to town, we're going to give up 25 points," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said admiringly. "This kid is going to come back to L.A. and have a great game."
Young had a 27-point game against the Lakers in 2008 and had a season-high 22 in a game against them last season. His season high Tuesday night was three points off his career best.
Young hit nine of his first 12 shots while scoring 27 points in the first three quarters. His final 3-pointer pulled Washington to 110-106 with 1:20 left, but it was his only basket while going 1-for-6 in the fourth.
"I'm happy I could play well in front of my friends and family, but we need to get a victory here one time, because I haven't had one yet in L.A. since I've been in the league," Young said. "We fought hard, but the basketball gods won't give us a chance."
Pau Gasol had 21 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists for the Lakers in their final home game before a seven-game, two-week trip that includes a rematch with Washington on Dec. 14. Los Angeles struggled to put away the lively Wizards but never trailed for the fourth time this season.
"They've got a couple of players that got hot, but we made it tougher on ourselves," said Gasol, who played nearly 43 minutes. "We let them back into the game, and we can't let that happen. Hope we don't make that a habit."
John Wall had 22 points and 14 assists for Washington, which dropped to 0-11 on the road this season. Washington and the Los Angeles Clippers are the NBA's only remaining teams without a road victory.
Gilbert Arenas scored 23 points for the Wizards, who played without forward Andray Blatche after their leading scorer bruised his hip during Saturday's loss at Phoenix. Young's excellent game couldn't make up for his absence.
"This is [Young's] comfort zone," said Arenas, a North Hollywood native who famously scored 60 points against the Lakers on Dec. 17, 2006. "He plays well at home, and you could see it in his eyes early. This is his building."
After snapping a four-game losing streak -- their longest in more than 3 1/2 years -- with a win over lowly Sacramento on Friday, the Lakers skillfully moved the ball around against Washington while taking a 15-point lead in the first half. Los Angeles outrebounded the Wizards 27-11 in the first half, grabbing 14 offensive boards.
After Washington's third-quarter run, the Lakers went back ahead by 10 points in the final minutes, but back-to-back baskets by Wizards rookie Trevor Booker cut it to 108-103 with 3:08 to play.
Arenas' jumper with 57 seconds left trimmed the Lakers' lead to four, but Washington couldn't get any closer.
"Sometimes we need to do a better job of keeping our intensity at a high," Odom said. "When we focus, we've been really good this year, but when we lose that focus, teams have been able to sneak up on us and give us trouble."
Blatche's injury prompted Washington coach Flip Saunders to use his seventh starting lineup of the young season. Chinese forward Yi Jianlian got his first start with the Wizards, while Arenas replaced Kirk Hinrich and longtime Clippers forward Al Thornton took over for Alonzo Gee.
Young carried Washington during the first half, scoring 19 points with three 3-pointers while rarely passing the ball.
"When he gets it going, our guys are smart enough to find him," Saunders said. "He made some big shots for us and single-handedly kept us in the game in the first half and made some big shots. In the second half, he got a little bit tired and missed a couple at the end that he wouldn't normally miss."
Gasol had eight assists by halftime. He wasn't able to complete his fifth career triple-double after getting his fourth last month. ... With Portland's Andre Miller sitting out due to a suspension, Los Angeles G Derek Fisher became the NBA's active leader in consecutive games played with 434. ... Fans at courtside included Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.