In what many billed as a must-lose game for the 76ers, they did their part, dropping a 101-87 decision to the Lakers.
The Sixers own the Lakers first round pick in the June draft. But that pick is top five protected this year, meaning that if the Lakers end with one of the five worst records in the NBA, they keep the pick. Next season, it becomes top three protected. And with the Lakers expected to make Kobe Bryant's last season a special one, that pick may not be a very good one next year. Maybe that's why the organist in Staples Center was playing the Sixers' theme song during a timeout in the first half.
Still, playing hard and trying to win each and every night has become the staple of this team, and they again did just that. Their efforts to grab the victory were severely hampered midway through the third quarter when Nerlens Noel tok a whack to the face from Tarik Black. Noel went down and wobbled to the bench, putting ice to the area. He started the fourth, but seemed to be struggling before he got another rest. He did finish out the game, however.
The Lakers, who improved to 18-50, were spurred by Jeremy Lin, who scored 29 points, 21 coming after halftime. He also grabbed five rebounds and dealt five assists.