LOS ANGELES — The Lakers’ 116-111 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday pushed their record to .500 for the first time all season, needing 74 games to break even after a 2-10 start.
“Now is the time, instead of constantly facing a deficit, we try to create a surplus, create a cushion between wins and losses,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “So the guys are excited about it.”
At 37-37, the Lakers reached .500 for the first time as a franchise in more than 400 days, since Jan. 25, 2022, when the team was 24-24.
The last NBA team to get to .500 this late in the season was the 2003-04 Miami Heat, who took 78 games to get there, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The 1988-89 Washington Bullets also took 74 games and the 1983-84 Phoenix Suns didn’t break .500 until Game No. 82.
“Great achievement, but we’re not done yet,” he said. dennis schroederwho started instead of D’Angelo Russell (right hip pain) and finished with 21 points and six assists.
lakers guard Lonnie Walker IV scored 20 points off the bench after playing just 12 minutes in LA’s last seven games, including five DNPs.
“He’s the guy that won us the game, it’s that simple,” Schroder said of Walker. “Everyone thanked him for that tonight. This is his win.”
The win was Los Angeles’ third straight and gave the Lakers the same record as the No. 7-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves in the Western Conference. LA is No. 8, however, because the Wolves own the tiebreaker by leading the season series 2-0 with just one more matchup remaining.
“We got to .500, now it’s time to go to the other side and be able to have more wins than losses,” he said. antonio davis, who led LA with 37 points and 15 rebounds. “Then it starts Sunday. We have a chance to be a game over .500 against a good Bulls team.”
Hosting Chicago will be the last of Los Angeles’ current five-game home stay before heading on the road for a four-game trip through Chicago, Minnesota, Houston and Utah.
“We just have to address these next few games, these last eight, as we’ve been since the deadline: each game is its own entity,” Ham said. “We can’t worry about going 6-2 or 7-1 or 5-3. We just have to approach each game and dive and pour ourselves into each particular game. So we’ll continue as such.” “