Lakers

Byron Scott-Magic Johnson friendship has plenty of fuel left in tank

Lakers great Magic Johnson, Coach Byron Scott are on good terms despite Johnson's suggestion team should tank

Magic Johnson created a mess earlier this month by saying the Lakers should "lose every game" and secure a top-five draft pick.

Some Lakers fans hated it, some loved it. Lakers players and coaches definitely didn't like it.

But when Johnson and good friend Byron Scott ran into each other a week later, there was no such talk.

"When I saw him, he just said, 'You're doing a great job. Just keep doing what you're doing,'" said Scott, who wasn't thrilled when Johnson initially talked about tanking but said he forgot to bring it up when they saw each other.

"I didn't even think about the tanking stuff," said Scott, in his first season as the Lakers' coach.

The Lakers (9-21) are currently on the fence of forfeiting their first-round pick to Phoenix as part of the Steve Nash trade. The pick is top-five protected and the Lakers had the NBA's fifth-worst record before Saturday, one game "ahead" of Utah.

Johnson has dialed back his critiques of the Lakers since making the tanking comments at a memorabilia appearance in New York.

He did remind Lakers fans on Twitter that they were "so blessed" to be able to watch Kobe Bryant after he passed Michael Jordan for third on the NBA's all-time scoring list.

His most popular tweet since that night was about the need for Portland's Damian Lillard to be included in any discussion about the NBA's top point guards.

A rebounding rarity

The Lakers had a bonanza on the boards in their loss to Dallas, taking 63 rebounds, their most in a regulation game since 2009.

All three starting frontcourt players earned double-doubles, something that hadn't happened for the team since April 2013, when Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Bryant did it. (Bryant started some games at small forward that season).

"It's huge," guard Jeremy Lin said. "We shot such a lower percentage but we still had a chance to be within striking distance and it's because the bigs, the frontcourt, battled so hard on the boards."

A rebounding edge over anybody this season has been uncommon for the Lakers. They are 24th in the league in rebounding differential, sitting at minus-2.3 a game.

Ed Davis took 11 rebounds and Jordan Hill and Wesley Johnson each had 10 in the 102-98 loss to Dallas. The Lakers shot 36.4%.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

Twitter: Mike_Bresnahan

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
76°