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In a low-scoring, grimy second half at Staples Center, the Lakers somehow found a way to force overtime and come away with the 101-99 win over the New York Knicks.

Kyle Kuzma led the way for the home team with a team-high 23 points off the bench. Julius Randle and Derrick Rose combined for 58 points, but there was no other Knick in double figures. It was Wesley Matthews who forced overtime for the Lakers with an offensive rebound and finish to tie things up with three seconds left.

A fast start in overtime for the Lakers was erased by Randle, but a Talen Horton-Tucker three with 20 seconds left gave Los Angeles a two-point lead that they would never give up.

Here are three takeaways from the Tuesday night Laker heroics:

The Laker role players made the plays they will need to make in June

Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

For a Laker team without LeBron, the biggest plays of the night came from Talen Horton-Tucker and Wesley Matthews, while Kyle Kuzma’s offense paced the team. It was a glimpse into what has to happen come round one of the NBA playoffs, as the role players stepped up when called upon. While everything for Los Angeles obviously runs through arguably the best duo in the NBA when healthy, championships are not won without role players. It was those role players who won them last night’s game to stay in contention for a top six seed.

Late-game defense was back at championship standards

Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

It was fitting that yesterday’s win ended with a defensive stop. A combination of Talen Horton-Tucker and Andre Drummond stifled a late RJ Barrett-led pick-and-roll to force him into a contested 30-foot heave. The Laker defense has to be close to this level in pivotal playoff and play-in moments.

While it’s a small window, hope of avoiding the play-in tournament is still alive

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With a loss to New York, the Lakers would have all but secured their play-in tournament berth. With the win, Los Angeles sits a game behind Portland and Dallas with three games to go for each squad. The biggest issue facing the Lakers is that they don’t own the tiebreak over either team, meaning they need one of the two to lose two of the next three games in order to have a chance. Still, one of those two teams going 1-2 and the Lakers running the table with three winnable games in Houston and at home against New Orleans and Indiana is not out of the question.