LOS ANGELES ( Associated Press) – Stanley Johnson scored a season-high 21 points and the Los Angeles Lakers broke their eight-game losing streak with a 120-101 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.
Despite playing without LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, the Lakers added 16 points to wrap up the home side of their disappointing season with their first win since March 21.
Jaylen Hoard had a career-high 27 points and 17 rebounds, and Georgios Kalitzakis scored a career-high 25 points, while the Thunder used only six players in their 15th loss in 19 games. Oklahoma City is finishing its first back-to-back losing season since relocating to the City of Los Angeles in 2008 with two games.
The Lakers improved to 11–30 since January 7 when their supporting cast took the win without four injured stars. James was ruled out of the season with an ankle injury earlier in the day, spoiling his bid to win his second NBA scoring title.
Los Angeles were relegated from playoff contention on Tuesday, absorbing the final blow in one of the most embarrassing seasons in recent NBA history. Davis’ return from his long injury absence was not enough to land the Lakers in a play-in spot despite the wealth of experienced talent on their roster.
James, Davis and Westbrook only played together in 21 matches this season.
It could also be a farewell to Los Angeles for sports coach Frank Vogel, who is likely to be the one to fall for the Lakers’ woes. Vogel led the Lakers to their 17th championship in the Florida Bubble only 18 months ago, but they lost in the first round of last year’s playoffs before their current season’s faceplant.
Greek rookie Kalaitzakis, who started the season with Milwaukee, scored in double digits for the third time in four days since signing with the Thunder from the G League last Tuesday.
Hoard also casts his eye on his latest numbers, while the three-year NBA legend is getting his first extended game time of the season this month.
Thunder: Isaiah Robbie took a hard fall in the first quarter and was out of the game, but returned with a restraint due to a foul.
Lakers: Gabriel received a standard NBA contract back in the day, putting his solid game break since joining L.A. on a two-way contract on March 1. … Davis, Westbrook and Anthony are not out for Sunday’s season finale, Vogel said. … Kendrick Nunn missed the 81st game in a row with a bone injury to his right knee, a preseason injury initially expected to sideline him for three weeks. He has a $5.25 million player option for next season after never playing this season.
The Lakers celebrated the upcoming 75th birthday of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at halftime. Several former teammates joined the NBA’s career scoring leader at midcourt as Herbie Hancock served him on a giant cake. Abdul-Jabbar turned 75 on 16 April.
Thunder: In Shear on Sunday.
Lakers: Sunday at the Nuggets.
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