DARIO Saric dropped a career-best 29 points and hit some crucial baskets late as the Philadelphia 76ers survived a late Los Angeles Lakers rally to end a four-game slide, 118-116, on Sunday (Monday, Manila time) at the Staples Center.
The Sixers unleashed a 13-2 run midway through the third quarter to lead by as much as 12, 84-72. Philadelphia even went on an 8-0 blast bridging the third and fourth periods to take a 96-85 advantage early in the final frame.
But the Lakers showed no quit with 21-8 rally to take the lead, 106-104, with 3:19 left, setting up a back-and-forth battle the rest of the way.
Saric and Jordan Clarkson traded baskets before TJ McConnell gave the Sixers the lead for good with a fadeaway jumper, 113-112, with 50 ticks to go. Jahlil Okafor came up with a huge block on Julius Randle before D’Angelo Russell missed on a 30-foot heave. Gerald Henderson gave the Sixers some breathing room with a pair of free throws, before Clarkson matched his career-best output with a split from the line to keep the Lakers within two.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot sank another pair of crucial freebies to get the Sixers a comfortable four-point edge, 117-113, with 12 seconds remaining, before Larry Nance Jr. answered with a triple to give the Lakers a chance at a comeback. But Saric put the game away with a free throw, and missed his second attempt as the Lakers were left without a timeout and Randle was forced to heave a 35-footer that was off the mark.
Okafor added 23 points for the Sixers (24-42), while Luwawu-Cabarrot also chipped in a career-best 18 markers.
Clarkson tied his personal-high of 30 points off the bench for the Lakers (20-46), while Randle had a double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds.