Lakers' 103-97 overtime loss to Magic a bad news/good news situation

Lakers fall at Orlando and aren't happy about it; on bright side, it improves chances of keeping draft pick

One of the Lakers' finest moments came in this city, Derek Fisher hitting two late three-pointers to help the franchise take a huge step closer to its 15th NBA championship, which officially happened a few days later.

That was 2009. This is 2015.

The Lakers and Orlando Magic fought for something less prestigious Friday but still potentially precious — lottery position.

The Lakers lost the game in overtime, 103-97, but as many of their fans will tell you, they weren't total losers.

It's a fine line to start saying losing isn't a bad thing, especially one week into February. There are still 30 more games until the Lakers' miserable season gets carted off the court.

But they are more entrenched in the NBA's losers cartel, "gaining" a game on Orlando (16-37) and creating a little separation for the league's fourth-worst record.

It's been well-publicized that the Lakers (13-37) retain the first-round draft pick they owe Phoenix if it's still a top-five selection after the lottery.

The Lakers lost, so the Lakers . . . won?

Coach Byron Scott didn't really like that type of thinking.

"The guys are not in there having a party right now because we lost the game because they think it's going to help us get a better draft pick," he said crisply. "They're in there right now upset because they know that we let a game get away. If I have guys in there right now that's partying, they won't be here next year anyway."

True. Nobody was partying in the locker room.

But Carlos Boozer was asked how he felt about not re-entering the game after leaving with 6 minutes 43 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

He was having a solid game on offense, 14 points in 18 minutes. Same for Jeremy Lin, who had 14 points on six-for-eight shooting but didn't return after checking out with 4:16 left in regulation.

"The guys out there are getting great experience," Boozer said diplomatically. "Hopefully it will turn around and help us in the long run."

He wasn't even a little bitter on the bench?

"It's just the way it's been going this year. You never know how many minutes you're going to play while you're out there," he said. "But while you're out there, play as hard as you can."

The Lakers played the final stretch of the fourth quarter and overtime with rookie Jordan Clarkson, second-year player Ryan Kelly, third-year player Robert Sacre and journeymen Wayne Ellington and Wesley Johnson.

"It was just, 'I'm going to see what you [young] guys can do. I'm going to leave you in there,'" Scott said. "With guys like Jordan especially, this is great experience for him. He's going to go through some heartaches and some growing pains going through it, but at the end of the day, he has to gain that experience."

The Lakers had chances to win in regulation, but Clarkson missed a three-point attempt and Ellington had a three-point shot blocked at the buzzer after Sacre took the rebound.

"I thought Wayne got fouled on his attempt to shoot the three. They didn't call it," Scott said. "I got fined the last time I was here . . . so I'm not going to say anything else."

Tobias Harris scored a career-high 34 points for Orlando, which fired coach Jacque Vaughn on Thursday after losing a 10th consecutive game.

It didn't really matter for the Lakers, who lost for the 12th time in 13 games.

Kelly had 20 points and Clarkson had 14 on six-for-14 shooting, along with six assists and four steals at Amway Arena.

The Lakers' 11-point fourth-quarter lead vanished, as did Nick Young's game again. He was scoreless in 16 minutes, missing all six of his shots.

Scott could have checked out, say, Twitter to see some Lakers fans celebrating the loss. He chose against it.

"That's one of the main reasons I don't go on Twitter. You've got a lot of people that don't know what the hell they're talking about," he said.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
75°