Byron Scott: Lakers ‘not trying to tank’

first_imgHis blood pressure started boiling. For once, what made Lakers coach Byron Scott upset had nothing to do with another loss or an injury.Instead, Scott went on his Instagram page and saw a stream of negative comments.The most persistent involved fan dissatisfaction with the Lakers (15-41) entering tonight’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks (32-25) at Staples Center with a two-game winning streak. After all, any rare victory could disrupt the Lakers’ chances at landing a top-five pick. Otherwise, the pick will go to the Philadelphia 76ers as part of the Steve Nash deal with the Phoenix Suns two years ago.“We’re not trying to tank games. That’s absurd,” Scott said. “We’re going to try to win every game. Whatever happens after that with the lottery pick happens. But if you’re going to lose every game so we can get the best pick, I think it backfires. We’re trying to build a culture here that you have to come to play hard every single night.” “I’ve been working hard in the weight room,” Clarkson said. “I had to show what I’ve been doing.”Beyond the play-filling highlight reels, Clarkson’s dunk and career-high 22 points in Wednesday’s win against Utah sparked so much reaction that the Lakers’ rookie said “the phone was crazy.”Yet, Clarkson insisted he won’t become too overwhelmed with the hype. He still remains edgy because he was drafted 46th overall. Exum, who was drafted fifth overall, had only three points.Clarkson also said he has leaned on Carlos Boozer, Jeremy Lin, Ed Davis, Ellington and Robert Sacre for advice.“Surprisingly, Nick (Young), too,” Clarkson said, smiling. “He’s one of those guys that says off-the-wall stuff.” The losses might just happen naturally, considering season-ending injuries to Kobe Bryant (right shoulder), Nash (back), Julius Randle (right leg), Xavier Henry (left Achilles tendon) and Ronnie Price (right elbow). Lakers forward Nick Young will also miss his second consecutive game because of swelling in his left knee. But the Lakers only have Bryant, Young, Randle and Young with guaranteed deals next season, giving the remainder of the roster plenty of motivation to play well.“To hell with that and what people are saying,” said Lakers guard Wayne Ellington, who will become an unrestricted free agent after the season. “We’re undermanned, have a lot of injuries and have gone through a lot of adversity. You see that in our record. But at the same time, I’m a competitor. I never stepped on the court trying to lose. The fans’ point of view involves looking for the future. But we’re playing for right now.”Plenty of buzzIt did not take long for Jordan Clarkson’s one-handed dunk over Utah rookie Dante Exum on Wednesday to go viral. After all, Clarkson then flexed his muscles, kissed his biceps and saluted a Lakers fan sitting behind the basket.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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