The Lakers (14-41) ended their seven-game losing streak on Sunday night, outlasting the Boston Celtics (20-33) in overtime. Here are five takeaways from their 118-111 victory at Staples Center:
1. With a three-point lead, Coach Byron Scott chose once again not to foul in the closing seconds. Scott made the same decision in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, when O.J. Mayo forced overtime in a similar situation. Avery Bradley made the Lakers pay on Sunday, although the Celtics weren't able to keep pace in the extra session.
"There was some consideration," Scott said. "That's twice that I've been thinking about it, and they've hit a three to send it into overtime, so I don't know if I'll think about it next time. I might just do it. That's something that I've just never done."
2. The Lakers' bench scored a season-high 84 points, or 71.2% of the team's output of 118. Jeremy Lin was phenomenal off the bench with a game-high 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting, along with six assists and just one turnover.
Wesley Johnson was also on target, with 22 points on nine-of-11 shooting. Nick Young added 19, hitting three of five attempts from three-point range and six of eight from the line -- although his late missed free throw set up the Bradley shot to tie.
Carlos Boozer was the Lakers' only starter in double figures with 12 points. He also led the team with eight rebounds.
3. In four games this season, the Lakers had a miserable time trying to guard Isaiah Thomas when he was with the Phoenix Suns. On Sunday, Thomas made his debut with the Celtics after a Thursday trade.
In 25 minutes, he scored 21 points, but was ejected with five minutes left in the game after arguing a call and slamming the ball on the court.
"He has to be there at the end," said Celtics Coach Brad Stevens. "He is a good player, and he knows that. He said something to the team in the locker room [regarding the ejection]; he seems like an accountable guy."
4. According to Lin, Scott told his players earlier in the day that they had better win against the Celtics.
"I’m a happy man tonight,” Scott said after the overtime victory. "I think the energy was there, even with our fans who know the history of our rivalry with them. They were much more into it tonight. When the Celtics got introduced, the boos were louder than I’d heard in a while"
With the win, the Lakers evened the season series after a 113-96 loss in Boston on Dec. 5.
5. With an eye on the NBA draft lottery, the Lakers are two wins ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves (12-42) and Philadelphia 76ers (12-43) and four on top of the New York Knicks (10-45). The Lakers keep their draft pick this season, as long as it's a top-five selection (otherwise it goes to the 76ers)
The Lakers are set to play the Wolves and Sixers twice more each, and the Knicks once. The Knicks and Sixers are set to play each other twice as well. The only way the Lakers can 100% guarantee themselves a top-five pick is to finish with the first or second-worst record in the NBA. At third-worst, their chances are still high, at 96%, but in their current position, they're a less comfortable 83.8%.