With just over two minutes left in the game, LeBron James caught a pass from Carmelo Anthony, dribbled the ball a few times, took two steps to the left and sank a 3-pointer with Toronto Raptors’ Gary Trent Jr.’s hand in his face. It was beautiful.
The fans in the Crypto.com Arena erupted into cheers: the Los Angeles Lakers were finally within single digits. With low stakes on the line, fans were just happy to see some effort. So was head coach Frank Vogel.
Despite the team still losing by double digits, Vogel, along with the rest of Lakers Nation, appreciated that the Lakers at least attempted a comeback. The Lakers outscored the Raptors 32-23, thanks of course to another push from James, who had 14 points and three rebounds.
“Of course. Our guys stuck with the game and kept fighting,” Vogel said. “They’re going to keep fighting through a tough season and we’re not letting go of the rope.”
Vogel found some relief in the bench down the stretch. Talen Horton-Tucker had nine points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block in the fourth quarter alone. Wayne Ellington also helped out with three points, one assist and one steal.
A tough season is an understatement for a team whose stars have a shrinking time frame to make a championship run this season, and could even miss the Play-In Tournament if they don’t pick up some crucial wins on their upcoming road trip.
The team can’t continue to rely on James putting up historic performances like he’s been recently. Luckily, the Lakers camp finally released an update on Anthony Davis’ timeline to return last week. Missing Davis on the floor hurt the Lakers Sunday, as they were overtaken by size and ultimately couldn’t find a shooter to back up James come crunch time.
“We do keep getting down, but it’s from not making those shots, not executing well enough,” Vogel said. “But our guys are still fighting. I think there was a shot where we had a chance to cut it to six with I think a minute left or a minute and a half left. So we’re right there. Our guys stayed in the fight the whole game. They got down and didn’t let go of the rope.”
Carmelo Anthony finds issue in Lakers’ first quarter performances
One silver lining in Lakers games recently is Anthony’s steady scoring performances. While he isn’t playing heavy minutes, he’s been providing efficient numbers in all categories.
In the postgame interview, he told Spectrum SportsNet that the Lakers need to find a way to get out the holes they keep getting in early.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!