Los Angeles Lakers end eight-game losing streak in Philadelphia

first_imgPHILADELPHIA >> – The frustration built through nearly two weeks of losing evaporated at least for one night.Shortly after the Lakers secured a 100-89 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday at Wells Fargo Center, Nick Young jokingly told D’Angelo Russell he owed him money for every time he complimented his performance. Lakers forward Luol Deng jokingly credited his presence for Larry Nance Jr’s hustle plays and claimed none of his estimated 100 hometown friends would attend Saturday’s game in Cleveland. Nance then teased Deng for leaving the Cavaliers in 2014 via free agency.Yup, the Lakers (11-18) showed relief over snapping an eight-game losing streak, even if it only meant a victory over the Sixers (6-20).“We desperately needed a win,” Young said, “and do whatever it takes.” Yet, that does not exactly reflect how Lakers coach Luke Walton wants his team to approach the 2016-17 season. He drew up a checklist of various unspecified goals he considered valuable to instill the Lakers with a winning culture.“It’s our job as coaches to put them in best position we can to get them to try to succeed,” Walton said beforehand. “I think that’s starting with the coaches, we kind of got away from what the main message was going into the season. That’s the process.”The Lakers initially validated the Sixers infamous slogan in “trusting the process.” After laboring through sluggish starts all season, the Lakers stormed out to a 13-0 lead. They led by as many as 22 points. After having quiet performances all week, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle already logged double figures by halftime.Then, the Sixers went on a to 16-6 run to reduce the Lakers’ lead to 74-64 entering the fourth quarter. The Lakers allowed Philadelphia to score 25 points off 20 turnovers. Though the Sixers shot only 36.4 percent from the field, they had Joel Embiid (15 points), Jahlil Okafor (14), Robert Covington (14), Ersan Illyasova (13) and Nic Stauskas (12) log double digits.“Our guys, as much as they agree those are things we need to focus on,” Walton said, “they’re competitors and are sick of losing.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img So, the Lakers still squeaked by. After having two quiet performances this week, Randle had a near double-double with 25 points and nine rebounds while nailing jumpers and finishing on dunks.“It’s going to be easier on us if we get out and play instead of walking the ball down and setting up the offense,” Randle said. “In order to do that, we have to get stops.”After shedding their layers of rust all week, Russell and Young finally found their rhythm. Russell had 15 points, albeit on 4-of-12 shooting, while Young had 15 points on a 5-of-9 clip. Though Russell became limited with a blister on one of his feet, the Lakers credited him for his defensive intensity that sparked the team’s strong start.“A lot of guys followed his lead,” Lakers guard Lou Williams said.That included Williams, who maintained his season-long consistency with 18 points, four steals and three assists. Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. provided endless hustle plays for four points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. Afterward, Walton told Nance that he had “one of the best four-point performances I’ve seen in a long time.”“I don’t and never worry about if the box score looks good or not,” Nance said. “If our coaches are happy and teammates are happy with the way I played, I’m happy.”Will the Lakers stay that way as they play in what Walton called an “extremely tough game” against the defending NBA champions? Russell simply wanted to enjoy the win before worrying about that.For now, the Lakers will take ending the losing culture while trying to build a winning one.last_img

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