Saric (29 points) steers 76ers past Lakers
(TSX / STATS) -- LOS ANGELES -- Lakers coach Luke Walton shook up his lineup, but the results were a familiar one for Los Angeles.
Rookie Dario Saric scored a career-high 29 points, and the Philadelphia 76ers ended a four-game losing streak by beating the Lakers 118-116 on Sunday night at Staples Center.
Saric, who also had seven rebounds and five assists, topped his previous high of 28 points, which he matched Thursday in a loss at the Portland Trail Blazers.
"This is my first time I play here at Staples Center against the legendary Lakers," said the 6-foot-10 Croatian, who had 16 points in the first half. "I had the opportunity to beat them here in their arena, and it means a lot. I watched Kobe (Bryant) and Magic Johnson videos, and now I'm playing in front of these fans.
"Playing against the Lakers means a lot. I played a good game, and I'm happy."
Jahlil Okafor contributed 23 points, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot added 18 points for the 76ers (24-42).
Philadelphia forward Robert Covington, the team's leading scorer at 12.6 points per game, missed the game due to right knee soreness. Covington, who is listed as day-to-day, hurt himself Saturday in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Jordan Clarkson matched his career best with 30 points on 10-of-16 shooting to pace the Lakers, who lost for the ninth time in 10 contests. Julius Randle collected 21 points and 12 rebounds, while rookie Brandon Ingram finished with 12 points and three steals for Los Angeles (20-46).
"They just made some little plays. The smaller things," said Clarkson, who also had eight assists and six rebounds. "We gave up some offensive rebounds toward the end. They got second-chance buckets, and that's how they ended up closing the game on us."
Walton started David Nwaba at guard in place of Nick Young and Ivica Zubac at center to spell Tarik Black. The moves were made in order for the Lakers to further evaluate their young players with 16 games to go in the season.
Zubac had 10 points, six rebounds and four blocks, three of those coming in the opening four minutes, and Nwada managed six points in 16 minutes. However, the 76ers' young core outplayed the Lakers in the second half.
"We are very aware that there's going to be a lot of mistakes made, and we've got to simplify the offense to some basic sets, but what we're looking for (are) characteristics as far as the culture we are continuing to try to build," Walton said.
The teams traded leads during the final three minutes. Clarkson's jumper gave the Lakers a 112-111 edge with 1:12 remaining, but T.J. McConnell's bucket on a drive put the 76ers up by one with 50 seconds left.
After the Lakers allowed the 24-second clock to expire, Gerald Henderson converted two free throws to give Philadelphia a 115-112 lead with 19.7 seconds left.
Clarkson made one of two foul shots to close the gap to two with 15 seconds remaining, but Luwawu-Cabarrot hit a pair for a four-point advantage with 12.2 seconds left.
A 3-pointer by Larry Nance Jr. sliced the deficit to one, and Saric's free throw with four seconds left capped the scoring. Randle's attempt near half-court at the buzzer was well short.
"I felt like we came up with the necessary stops," 76ers coach Brett Brown said. "I think the third period is the only one we want to talk about as far as what we set out to do defensively. The other periods I thought were average."
The 76ers held a 93-85 lead heading into the final period.
Both teams shot well, with the 76ers making 51.9 percent of their shots to 50 percent for the Lakers.
NOTES: Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said he obviously is aware that his club could receive the Lakers' top-three-protected pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. "I'd not be telling the truth if we weren't aware of it. It doesn't influence me," Brown said. ... Injured 76ers C Joel Embiid, who accompanied the team on the road trip along with injured G/F Ben Simmons, called F Dario Saric this season's Rookie of the Year. ... Lakers coach Luke Walton said SG Nick Young, who did not play Sunday, won't start for the foreseeable future and his playing time will be reduced as the club evaluates its younger players. ... The 76ers visit the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. ... The Lakers play the Nuggets at Denver on Monday.
Updated March 13, 2017
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