Oh my. A two-game winning streak.
The Lakers began 2016 with something new, something, dare it be said . . . stimulating?
They beat the similarly poor Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, 93-84, to win twice in a row for the first time this season.
That's how much the standards have slipped. This was something to celebrate. Fans gave the Lakers a standing ovation in the final seconds Friday at Staples Center. It's true.
"Give us a parade, man," Lakers Coach Byron Scott said. He was joking. Presumably.
Kobe Bryant sat out because of a sore right shoulder, leaving the young Lakers on their own.
Julius Randle helped stimulate a fourth-quarter run with a series of dunks, one off a pretty no-look pass from D'Angelo Russell. Lou Williams scored 24 points and Jordan Clarkson added 19.
Because it's the Lakers, the victory couldn't come perfectly. Draft lottery cheerleaders would consider this a poor start to the new year. The Lakers, whose 7-27 record is the NBA's second-worst, now are that much farther from the league-worst 76ers (3-32) in the only standings that really count around here.
The Lakers have to forfeit their first-round draft pick to Philadelphia if they finish outside the top three after the May 17 draft lottery.
If the Lakers finish with the NBA's worst record there's only a 35.8% chance of falling out of the top three picks. If they stay where they are now, there's a 44.3% chance of falling out of the top three.
At any rate, there was optimism about the on-court product in the locker room.
"This experience is valuable, especially for us to get better," Randle said after a 15-point, nine-rebound night.
The first half was a shame for both teams.
The Lakers had 40 points after shooting 31%. The 76ers had 41 points after shooting 36%. It was not exciting.
There was a bleak, short-lived "We want Kobe" chant two minutes into the third quarter. The Lakers were still stuck on 40 points. It looked like Philadelphia might slip past them again after the 76ers broke a 28-game losing streak by beating them last month.
But Williams scored 12 points in the fourth quarter and there was the highlight play from Russell to Randle.
"I can't really explain it," Russell said of his over-his-head touch pass. "It was just an instinctive play. I see everything. I see the future."
Bryant sat out after complaining about his shoulder following Wednesday's 112-104 victory in Boston. It didn't improve.
"He just wants to get it under a little bit more of control before he plays again," Scott said, adding that Lakers medical personnel hadn't mentioned any serious issues. "They haven't as of yet. So I take that as it's not nothing to worry about right now."
Rookie Anthony Brown started in place of Bryant. He had five points and five rebounds. Russell had six points on shaky three-for-14 shooting and five assists.
76ers center Jahlil Okafor, drafted one spot below Russell last June, had 12 points and four rebounds.
Besides Bryant, Scott didn't make any changes to the starting lineup, waiting at least one more game to evaluate what to do with Randle and Russell.
They were demoted to reserve status 14 games ago, though Scott said Russell's path back to the starting five would be easier. Rookie Larry Nance Jr. has played too well to yield to Randle. Nance had eight points and 14 rebounds Friday.
The Lakers could make it three in a row Sunday against slumping Phoenix, loser of seven straight.
Bring on the Suns?
Times correspondent Eric Pincus contributed to this report.