Wayne Ellington used to look into the crowd when he played an occasional road game here. His father would always be in attendance. Always.
But Wayne Ellington Sr. wasn't there Monday, a sad fact of life still being grasped by his son.
Ellington Sr. was shot and killed while sitting in a car last November in Philadelphia. Murder charges were later filed against a 34-year-old parolee who was a suspect in another shooting and a robbery.
The Lakers were barely in town for 24 hours this time, topping it off with a 113-111 overtime victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. Ellington had the winning assist, finding Jordan Clarkson for an easy lay-up through the tangled arms of two Philadelphia defenders with 0.7 seconds to play.
Ellington was born not far from here, in the suburban community of Wynnewood. It's a five-minute drive from Lower Merion High, where Kobe Bryant preceded him on the local courts by a decade.
Ellington spent some time with his grandmother earlier Monday, looking at photos of his father and reminiscing. A few hours later, he was flooded by family and friends, buying about 35 game tickets for them.
One thing he didn't do was visit his father's grave.
"I'm not ready for that yet," he said in a quiet moment. "I'll do that during the off-season."
He thought of his father often Monday, especially during the game.
"It still is emotional," Ellington said. "My pops never missed this game. He was always excited for the 76ers game. It's been a tough day. But this is a good feeling. I'm glad we got this win like this."
Ellington has been in and out of the starting lineup, averaging 9.8 points before scoring 20 against the 76ers, making four of six three-point attempts. He will be a free agent in a few months and on his way to another contract with someone who needs outside shooting, if not the Lakers.
He was surrounded by media members after Monday's game, most of them local.
"It's been a little crazy today. I didn't really get my nap in, I didn't really get in my pre-game rituals and stuff like that," he said, managing a smile. "But everything was all right. I'm glad we got the win."