Coach Byron Scott said before the Lakers' game Sunday night that he's pushing his team to win every game, regardless of whatever impact that might have on their NBA draft position.
The Lakers ran away from the Philadelphia 76ers, 101-87, with a dominant fourth quarter, led by Jeremy Lin who scored a season-high 29 points with five rebounds and five assists in 28 minutes.
With the loss, the 76ers helped secure at least the third-worst record in the league while the Lakers finished the night in fourth-worst position -- based on the win column. If the Lakers don't finish wiht one of the five-worst records, their first-round selection will go to the 76ers, via the Phoenix Suns.
All is not completely lost for the Lakers, as the two teams meet again next week in Philadelphia. The third-worst team has a 96% chance of a top-five pick; fourth-worst is a less-secure 83.3%.
The Sixers kept a small lead for much of the game until the Lakers held Philadelphia to just four points for 8 1/2 minutes to open the fourth quarter. The Lakers outscored the 76ers, 27-12, in the final quarter.
As a team, the Lakers shot 48.1% from the field, while holding a 52-39 rebounding advantage.
The 76ers were led by Thomas Robinson with 14 points off the bench. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored 13, Robert Covington 11 and Hollis Thompson 10.
Philadelphia shot 36% from the field and had only 10 turnovers. The Lakers turned the ball over 14 times.
Jordan Hill scored 12 while Wesley Johnson, Jabari Brown and Wayne Ellington each added 10. Ed Davis, who had a huge part in the Lakers' late run, fnished with eight points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.
With the win, the Lakers (18-50) end a four-game losing streak. They'll head out on a five-game road trip starting Tuesday in Oklahoma City against the Thunder (40-30). The 76ers (17-53) visit the Kings (24-45) on Tuesday in Sacramento.
76ers 75, Lakers 74 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers caught the Sixers in the third quarter, and while the lead flip-flopped multiple times, Philadelphia pulled back on top by a point with a Thomas Robinson tip-in.
Robinson leads the 76ers with 14 points off the bench, making seven of eight shots. Former UCLA Bruin Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has 13 point while Robert Covington added 11.
The Lakers have been led by reserve Jeremy Lin with 17 points. Jordan Hill is nearing a double-double with 12 points and eight rebounds. Both Wesley Johnson and Wayne Ellington have scored 10.
The Sixers are shooting 41.8% from the field and have only six turnovers. The Lakers are shooting a higher percentage (49.2%) but have 12 turnovers.
76ers 47, Lakers 41 (halftime)
The Sixers extended their lead in the second quarter, pushing ahead by as many as 10 points. The Lakers closed the gap to six going into the half.
Jordan Hill is the game's leading scorer with 12 points on a perfect six-for-six shooting from the field.
Jeremy Lin has scored eight off the bench, as the Lakers shot 44.2% from the field.
The Sixers have been led by Thomas Robinson with 10 points on five-for-six shooting. Robert Covington added nine points. Philadelphia is shooting 40.9% from the field and 70% from the line (7-10).
The Lakers missed their only free throw.
76ers 20, Lakers 18 (end of first quarter)
The Sixers shot only 31.8% from the field yet managed to finish the quarter with a two-point lead over the Lakers.
Robert Covington wis the game's leading scorer with six points in six minutes.
Jordan Hill leads the Lakers with four points. Jordan Clarkson sat after eight minutes with his second foul, scoring two points with an assist.
The Lakers are shooting 42.9% from the field, missing all five of their attempts from three-point range. The team didn't attempt a free throw.
The Sixers have made one of seven from behind the arc (14.3%) and five of six (83.3%) from the line.
The loser will pull "ahead" by a game -- in the win column -- in the chase for the higher position in the NBA draft lottery.
For the Lakers, Nick Young is out with a knee injury while
Philadelphia's Joel Embiid (back) and Tony Wroten (knee) are also out for the year.
For an in-depth breakdown, check out check out check out Preview: Lakers vs. Philadelphia 76ers.