April 7, 2017
The Lakers made in 3 straight wins by beating the Kings 98-94 on Friday night at Staples Center. Once again, the win hurt the Lakers chances in the lottery, but helped the development of their current young players.
“I know my guys around me we don’t believe in going out there and trying to lose games,” Julius Randle said. “The basketball gods come back, I believe in that, it’ll come back and haunt you. So you don’t do that. You gotta treat the game with respect.”
Randle led the Lakers with 25 points and 6 rebounds. Brandon Ingram contributed 14 points as well. The win kept the Lakers 1.5 games better than the Phoenix Suns in the West. Phoenix, who has the 2nd worst record in the NBA, defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night. The Lakers first round pick needs to land in the top 3 this year, or else they will have to trade it away to Philadelphia to satisfy the Steve Nash trade.
Skal Labissiere led Sacramento with 19 points. The Kings also have some incentive to improve their chances in the lottery, and rested three healthy players of their own: Kosta Koufus, Ty Lawson, and Garrett Temple.
The Lakers led 93-92 with 5 seconds remaining in the game, and Larry Nance Jr. at the foul line for two shots. Nance Jr. missed the first free throw, and made the second, which gave LA a two point lead. Corey Brewer stole in the inbounds pass from Buddy Heild on the next possession, and Brewer made two free throws to secure the win for the Lakers.
“We’re getting team effort really from everybody right now,” Laker coach Luke Walton said. “Everybody’s kind of rising to the challenge as far as the way they’re playing, competing mainly on the defensive end. … They’re having fun and competing. When we were playing well early in the year that’s what we were doing. Losing took that from us. We found it again in the last couple games.”
The Lakers have three games left on the season. Sunday night they’ll host Minnesota at Staples Center, followed by games against the Pelicans and Warriors. If the Lakers finish with the 3rd worst record in the NBA, they will have a 47% chance of keeping this years draft pick.