With all the focus on lottery projections, ping pong balls, and percentages of getting the number one pick, neither team’s fanbase was interested in a win Monday night. But a huge fourth quarter by the Lakers sent them to win 26 and likely sealed their fate with the 6th spot in the lottery selection.
With both teams deadlocked at 86 and just 12 minutes remaining, the Lakers and Jazz were left in an interesting conundrum. While the players on the court were certainly fighting for victory, many of the fans were begging for defeats to improve the chances at a number one pick. Nick Young, however, was not interested in increasing the amount of Lakers’ ping pong balls and exploded for 17 points in the fourth, helping lead the Lakers to a 119-104 victory.
Young led the way with 41 points, 1 shy of the Lakers season high this year set by Jodie Meeks against the Thunder. On this night, Meeks chipped in 23 points while Jordan Hill added 21 of his own. Kendall Marshall added a typical Marshall stat line of 2 points with 15 assists.
Early on, it looked as if the Lakers would fulfill their fans’ hopes, trailing for most of the first half. The deficit reached 13 points midway through the second quarter when the Lakers flipped a switch. Over the final 4:46, the Lakers outscored the Jazz 25-6, taking a six point lead into half-time.
The 3rd quarter featured some back and forth action, with neither team able to pull away, setting up for the final frame. Entering the period with 24 points, Young caught fire quick, ripping off 14 points in the first 6:53 seconds of the final quarter. In total, Swaggy P would scored 41 points on the evening, but none were quite as flashy as his final three, coming after a Jordan Farmar crossover that left Trey Burke on the floor.
The win, as well as Orlando’s victory, means the Lakers are out of contention for the third spot as well as the fourth spot. The best the Lakers can do now is hope for a Celtics victory over the Wizards Wednesday, while also dropping their final game to the Spurs and hoping for a little lady luck via coin flip to land in the top five.
The Lakers will be in San Antonio for the final game of the season Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 8 PM Eastern, 5 PM Pacific.