Someone in the crowd threw a little red, white and blue ball on the court as players lined up for the final seconds of regulation.
It was a strange moment, and the ball bounced neatly to
Taking flight a few minutes later were some important lottery percentages for the
This has become a March Madness all its own, the Lakers sitting perfectly healthy players not because they're preparing for a playoff run but because, um, let's just say it's complicated.
The Lakers would never admit it publicly, but their 113-111 overtime victory Monday over the 76ers probably cost them something on lottery night.
They moved three games ahead of Philadelphia in the overall standings and are practically locked in as the
One more stat for lottery gluttons: The team with the third-worst record has a 15.6% chance at winning the No. 1 pick, the fourth-worst team only a 10.4% chance.
The present-day Lakers don't care. The victory felt great.
Their lottery-laden fans might say otherwise. Coach Byron Scott would gladly debate them.
"I don't care about all that stuff," he said. "It's all about us trying to get better as a basketball team and trying to win games. Whatever happens after that happens. We can't control that."
Eight players sat for the Lakers because they were injured, ill or otherwise.
Nobody sat rookie
"I feel like I helped myself tonight," said Brown, who made seven of 10 shots.
For the record, nobody is publicly accusing the Lakers of losing on purpose. A huge grin spread over
Like all the Lakers, Johnson has heard the time-to-tank chatter from a vocal sector of Lakers fans.
"It's one of those things that they want it because of the hype of the draft kids that are coming out," Johnson said. "But to us, this is our job. We're not trying to go out there and lose."