The Los Angeles Lakers continued their struggle to string together consecutive wins, despite holding a four-point lead over the Brooklyn Nets at halftime on Friday night.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t maintain their momentum and suffered a 130-112 loss, pushing their record below .500 once more and jeopardizing their chances for the Play-In Tournament.
Meanwhile, Devin Booker’s outstanding 50-point performance propelled the Phoenix Suns to victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham expressed his frustration, declaring, “It’s over for the excuses,” as his team collapsed against the Nets.
The Lakers’ season has been marked by inconsistency, with only seven wins in their last 20 games following their In-Season Tournament victory in December.
Their first-half performance showcased their potential, but they faltered in the second half, being outscored by 24 points.
Ham emphasized the need for consistency, stating, “We have to decide which team we’re gonna be. We got to play basketball.”
The Lakers have yet to achieve back-to-back wins this season, and their record now stands at 21-22, placing them in 10th place, the final spot for the Play-In Tournament. However, the 11th-place Houston Rockets and 12th-place Golden State Warriors are closing in on them.
In other Friday night matchups, Joel Embiid led the Philadelphia 76ers with 36 points, while Tyrese Maxey added 32 in their 124-109 victory over the Orlando Magic.
The Denver Nuggets, led by Nikola Jokic (34) and Jamal Murray (35), narrowly defeated the Boston Celtics 110-102, ending the Celtics’ 20-game home winning streak. Jokic played despite the recent passing of Golden State Warriors assistant Dejan Milojevic, whom he considered a mentor.
Charlotte Hornets secured a tight 124-120 win against the San Antonio Spurs, with LaMelo Ball contributing 28 points and eight assists, while Brandon Miller recorded 24 points and nine rebounds.
Devin Booker delivered a stellar 52-point performance for the Phoenix Suns, with Kevin Durant adding 26, leading them to a 123-109 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. The Atlanta Hawks narrowly defeated the Miami Heat 109-108.
In a high-scoring matchup, Jerami Grant and Malcolm Brogdon both scored 30 or more points, helping the Portland Trail Blazers edge past the Indiana Pacers 118-115.