Sorry, Lakers from the 1993-94 season. The record is still yours.
The modern-day Lakers ended a nine-game losing streak, one short of tying the franchise record, after an inspired 123-118 double-overtime victory Thursday against the Chicago Bulls.
The Lakers somehow lost a nine-point lead with less than 90 seconds left in regulation but still ended up ruining Pau Gasol’s return to Staples Center against his former team.
Rookie Jordan Clarkson continued to impress, Jordan Hill had 26 points and 12 rebounds, and fans in attendance were delighted simply by seeing a victory, the Lakers’ first since Jan. 9.
Clarkson had 18 points and four assists, Wayne Ellington had 23 points and the Lakers improved to 13-34.
Hill’s 17-foot fadeaway with 1:29 left in regulation should have provided enough cushion, a 98-89 Lakers lead. It didn’t.
Then again, they came back from a five-point deficit in the first overtime to force a second extra period. Hill’s 20-footer tied the score with 16.2 seconds left and Derrick Rose’s missed 20-footer led to another five minutes of basketball.
From there, the Lakers took a five-point lead on Hill’s 17-footer and pretty much sealed the game on two free throws by Clarkson with 32.6 seconds left.
Clarkson has now had solid games in three of his four starts at point guard. He certainly didn’t look scared against Rose, who had a terrible shooting night (seven for 26) and scored only 17 points.
Clarkson has held his own — or done better — against Tony Parker, John Wall and now Rose.
“His progression has come a lot, probably, quicker than we all thought,” Lakers Coach Byron Scott said. “He’s playing against some great teams with some great point guards and he hasn’t backed down. Very happy with the way he’s played.”
Gasol had 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for Chicago. Jimmy Butler, an All-Star reserve, had 35 points.
Gasol has had an incredible season and was recently selected an All-Star starter after taking less money to go to Chicago as a free agent last July.
“We really wanted him to stay,” Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said beforehand. “We did the best we could to convince him to stay, but I think he needed a change of scenery. ... He’s certainly playing at a very high level.
“Would we have been a better team with Pau Gasol on our team this year? Absolutely. But maybe Pau says, ‘Well, if I would have stayed, with Kobe [Bryant], we could have won 50-something games.’ But now Kobe went down, maybe Pau is saying, ‘I made the right decision for sure.’”
Not on Thursday.
The Bulls (30-18) had been a highly effective 17-6 on the road, ending Golden State’s franchise-record 19-game home winning streak Tuesday when Rose made a late jumper in overtime.
They ended another streak Thursday, one that created a Lakers rarity this season — happiness.