Lakers' overtime win is no help in lottery

Lakers' overtime win is no help in lottery
Lakers point guard Jeremy Lin takes an elbow from Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine as he drives to the basket in the second half. (Jim Mone / Associated Press)

Kobe Bryant hugged history the last time the Lakers were here, moving past Michael Jordan into third on the NBA's career scoring list.

Something less extraordinary was at stake Wednesday — lottery probabilities for two awful teams.


Nonetheless, Lakers fans would argue the importance of the game. And many would be disappointed by the outcome — a 101-99 Lakers overtime victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center.

It should have been forgotten as soon as it ended, the lack of quality play dropping the game to a level somewhere between D-League and the old CBA. But if the Lakers somehow lose their top-five-protected pick, this will be one of the games they remember.

As it is, they look more likely to finish with the NBA's fourth-worst record and only a 10.5% chance at the No. 1 pick at the May 19 lottery. Worse, if two teams pass them on lottery night, they forfeit their pick to Philadelphia.

With only 12 games left, the Lakers (19-51) are now 3 1/2 games better than Minnesota (16-55) and two games better than Philadelphia (18-54).

There were plenty of curiosities in this one, starting with perfectly healthy big men Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill sitting out again because, um, just because. (The company line: Time to look at all our young post players!)

Even Hill admitted that "it's getting boring on the sideline," before quickly adding, "but I'm still going to be a cheerleader and support."

Jeremy Lin also disappeared Wednesday, leaving the game with 11:21 left in the fourth quarter and never returning despite accruing 19 points and five assists.

His thoughts afterward?

"I'm not going to answer that question. Next question, please," he said. A minute later, he opened up a bit.

"I'm a competitor. I want to play but … My whole thing that I've learned in my five years is control what I can control and leave the rest up to God."

Assistant coach Paul Pressey, filling in for Byron Scott while the Lakers coach attended his mother's funeral, said he went with a gut feeling in the fourth quarter.

He gave Lin's time to rookie Jabari Brown, who did have a three-pointer that gave the Lakers an 88-85 lead late in regulation. It also meant going with Tarik Black instead of Ed Davis down the stretch. Davis had 14 points, made seven of nine shots, and took nine rebounds.

Hey, the Lakers won. Yet they also lost lottery leverage.

Wayne Ellington missed a lot of shots — 16 of 19, to be precise — but Jordan Clarkson rebounded Ellington's late miss, was fouled by Zach LaVine and made the winning free throws with 0.3 seconds left in overtime.


Clarkson had 20 points but was hard on himself afterward, as usual, unhappy with six turnovers.

The Lakers still have another lottery-worthy game on this trip, Monday at Philadelphia. They also play Minnesota again in two weeks at Staples Center.

The lottery lords will be watching.

Twitter: Mike_Bresnahan