Dave McMenaminESPN staff writer2 minutes to read
LOS ANGELES — The Lakers’ 116-111 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday brought their record to . 500 for the first time all season, and they need 74 games to tie after 2-10.
“Now is the time, instead of facing a persistent deficit, we should try to create a surplus, create a margin between gains and losses,” said Lakers coach Darvin Hamm. “So the guys are excited about it.”
At 37-37, the Lakers hit . 500 for the first time as a franchise in over 400 days, dating back to January 25, 2022, when the team was 24-24.
500 late in the season was the 2003-04 Miami Heat, which took 78 games to get there, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The 1988-89 Washington Bullets also caught 74 games and the 1983-84 Phoenix Suns didn’t hit . 500 until Game #82.
“A big achievement but we’re not done yet,” said Dennis Schroeder, who started in place of D’Angelo Russell (has a sore right hip).
Lakers guard Lonnie Walker IV scored 20 points off the bench after playing just 12 minutes in Los Angeles’ past seven games, including five DNPs.
“He’s the guy who won us the game,” Schroeder said of Walker, “It’s that simple.” “Everyone thanked him for that tonight. That’s his win.”
It was Los Angeles’ third consecutive win and gave the Lakers the same record as the Minnesota Timberwolves, the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference. Los Angeles is No. 8, however, because the Wolves own the tiebreaker by leading the season series 2-0 with just one game remaining.
“We hit . 500, now it’s time to step up the other side and we can have more wins than losses,” said Anthony Davis, who led Los Angeles with 37 points and 15 rebounds. “So it starts on Sunday. We have a chance of being an over . 500 game against a good Bulls team.”
Chicago will host the last five-game home in Los Angeles before going on a four-game trip through Chicago, Minnesota, Houston and Utah.
“We just have to treat these next matches, these last eight matches, like we’ve been doing since the deadline: every match is its own entity,” Hamm said. “We can’t worry about going 6-2 or 7-1 or 5-3. We just have to approach each match and dive in and pour ourselves all into each particular match. So we’ll keep going like that.”
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