On Thursday night at Staples Center, the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks played in a game that was best described as ugly. Considering the omnipresence of air balls, the overall quality of basketball was so horrendous that "ugly" actually sounded generous.
In the end, the Lakers lost 101-94, which meant the Lakers accounted for two of New York's 13 wins after 64 games. Not exactly miles ahead, though, the Lakers only have 17 wins after 64 games. For both these teams, winning the draft lottery is the only trophy within grasp, so in many ways, LA's 47th loss of the year was a victory. In the NBA, the worse the record, the better the odds of getting a no. 1 pick.
"This got away before the game even started," Lakers coach Byron Scott did not sound happy about the loss. "Our mindset was not where it should've been, let's put it that way."
Scott ranted and chewed up air time by talking about problems with focus, poor shooting, lack of ball movement and overall mental failures. He used the word "soft," which was not the first time or second time he used the term. Then, the coach talked about how much he, personally, did not enjoy what was going on.
"I hate losing. I can accept it, but I hate losing," Scott said sternly into the microphone.
At this point, NBCLA.com asked the coach how he dealt with the losses, seeing as he had previously told us he no longer threw chalkboards and kicked chairs like he did when he first started coaching.
"I go home and beat the dog," Scott sent the room into laughter. "I'm just joking. Some people out here--animal activists--who might be thinking, 'he beats his dog?' I don't even have a dog."
Scott attempted to put on a straight face and said he watches game film and has simply "mellowed out" with time, but the coach's joke was the highlight of an otherwise bad day at the office for the Lakers.
The Knicks came into the contest with the worst record in the NBA, and even a win against the Lakers did not change that.
Rookies Tarik Black and Jabari Brown deserved recognition for their play. Black finished with a double-double, pulling down 11 rebounds while also scoring 10 points on 5/6 shooting. Brown, who was on a 10-day contract, made his first three shots and finished with seven points in his NBA debut.
The Lakers have Friday off and will reconvene on Saturday for practice. On Sunday, the Atlanta Hawks come to Staples Center.