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Lakers one step closer to the NBA draft's top pick

Lakers one step closer to the NBA draft's top pick
Lakers forward Julius Randle tries to score against Maurice Harkless during a 97-81 loss to the Trail Blazers on Sunday. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press) (Mark J. Terrill / AP)

With this loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, the Lakers fell to 21-52, half a game worse than the Phoenix Suns.

The team with the worst record in the NBA will have a 64.1% chance of having a lottery pick in the top three. The team with the second-worst record will have a 55.7% chance and the team with the third-worst record will have a 46.8% chance of staying in the top three.

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If the Lakers' pick falls out of the top three, that pick will go to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Lakers originally gave up the pick, with protections, in the 2012 trade for Steve Nash.

Phoenix lost on Sunday afternoon to the Charlotte Hornets and are 22-52.

The Brooklyn Nets, keepers of the worst record in the NBA at 16-57, beat the Atlanta Hawks. Brooklyn's first-round pick will go to the Boston Celtics no matter what it is.

Ingram's progress

Lakers rookie Brandon Ingram sat out Sunday's game with patella tendinitis. It was his first missed game of the season.

Ingram first felt the injury during Thursday's practice. He played Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but missed all of overtime as his injury flared up again. Without a playoff spot at stake, the Lakers opted to err on the side of caution.

"It's our job to do what we think is best for him and for where we're at, but that's not playing him while he's in pain, limping," Lakers Coach Luke Walton said. "He'll get to the gym tomorrow, get treatment, get on the court with coach [Brian] Keefe. We'll see how he feels. See how he looks cutting and all that stuff. If it's better we'll let him practice. If it's not we'll take him off tomorrow as well."

Brotherly love

The Final Four is only a short plane ride away, which has Lakers backup point guard Tyler Ennis wondering whether he can swing a trip.

Ennis played in the Final Four last year for Syracuse. His brother, Dylan Ennis, is in it this year for Oregon.

"I was thinking about it yesterday," Tyler said. "I was looking. I think I'll probably skip the Final Four game. If they make it [to the national championship game] I'll try to get down there. I think they'll pull it out and hopefully I'll get down there for the final."

Tyler hasn't been able to see his brother play in person yet this season. Dylan is a sixth-year senior, whose career has been extended by injuries and transfers. He transferred from Villanova to Oregon before Villanova's championship run last year.

The Final Four will be played Saturday. The Lakers play a road game against the Clippers on Saturday at 12:30, while Oregon will play North Carolina at 5:49 p.m. in Glendale, Ariz.

If Oregon makes it to the championship game, they'll play Monday evening — an off night for the Lakers.

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Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli

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