The Lakers (8-30) lost their third game in a row, falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder (26-11) on Friday night.
Here are five takeaways from the Lakers’ 117-113 loss at Staples Center.
1. Lou Williams was on fire, scoring a career-high 44 points in 35 minutes. Williams hit 12 of 25 shots, all 15 of his tries from the line and five of 14 from three-point range.
He scored 23 in the final period, four shy of the 27 the Thunder scored together as a unit.
Previously, his high was 36 points with the Toronto Raptors, in November 2014 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
2. Friday was the second straight game in which the Lakers had a chance to win in the final minute. Outside of Tuesday night’s blowout by the Golden State Warriors, the Lakers have either won or come close to winning five of their last six games.
3. The Lakers got a boost from their bench with players like Anthony Brown, Marcelo Huertas, Julius Randle and Brandon Bass. Rookie D’Angelo Russell was able to play only eight minutes because of a sprained ankle.
Brown continues to grow as a defender, and he took turns on both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Randle led the Lakers with eight rebounds, before fouling out. Bass scored eight points with five rebounds and three assists.
Huertas managed 18 minutes against the athletic Thunder without hurting the Lakers defensively. He, Randle and Brown finished the game with a +/- of six points. Williams was the only starter in positive territory at +4. Jordan Clarkson (-19) and Kobe Bryant (-14) were on the opposite end of the spectrum.
For the Thunder, Steven Adams was a +22 and Enes Kanter -12.
4. Bryant had a chance to keep the Lakers in the game late, but he missed with 3.2 seconds left with the Lakers down two.
“It’s not a matter of opinion,” Bryant said. “If you watch the play, he hit me right on the forearm at the end of my release, which is why the ball went short. But it is what it is. It’s basketball; those things happen.”
5. The Lakers are still in last place in the Western Conference, with a better record than only one team: the Philadelphia 76ers (4-34).
The Lakers are 8 1/2 games behind the eighth-place Utah Jazz (15-20) and 4 1/2 behind the 14th-place New Orleans Pelicans.
Looking ahead to the 2016 NBA draft lottery, the Lakers would have a 55.8% chance of a top-three pick in June’s draft. If the Lakers fall below third in the lottery, Philadelphia will get the team’s pick as part of the Steve Nash trade, via the Phoenix Suns.