What could have been a completely embarrassing and dispiriting loss turned into a valiant comeback effort for the Los Angeles Lakers against the rival Clippers on Thursday night. Led by Anthony Davis, the Lakers fought back from 17 points down in the third quarter to take the lead late, setting up an absolutely unbelievable final minute.
Late baskets from Davis and Malik Monk put the Lakers ahead, but Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris matched them at every turn. Ultimately it was Jackson who got his last floater to go and give the Lakers their second loss of the year to the Clippers in what Davis admitted was a difficult loss to stomach.
“We did a good job in the fourth, only gave up 17 points in the fourth,” Davis said. “We had some tough misses, gave them a lot of threes in the third quarter and went on a run and then we fought back. They made a tough shot. Our guys fought back down I think 17 or something like that, a big lead, we just kept fighting. Just tough to lose like that though.”
Making the loss even more difficult for the Lakers’ big man was his attempt at the buzzer that could have given the Lakers the victory. With no timeouts, Davis went the length of the floor and got a great look with a floater, but the ball somehow didn’t drop through the net, much to Davis’ dismay.
“I got the ball and the lane was open and I just watched it like seven times. Terance Mann didn’t know who to guard, Reggie was screaming like who got ball because he had Austin [Reaves] in the corner, Serge and Marcus were weak side, so I saw a lane. The ball touched every part of the rim, there was no better look. Malik was trailing but by that time I was already into the shot so it’s just a tough play. Tough miss. Frustration just from that miss and losing this one, but guys fought hard and battled from down 17 to come back, made some big plays on both ends of the floor. Just couldn’t seal it off.”
Davis added: “I actually paused it and said the basketball gods can’t do that to me, man. The ball is in. The ball is in, and then the ball is out. Tough. Tough play. This is definitely gonna weigh on me, I’m glad we’ve got an off day because it’s definitely gonna weigh on me a little bit. Especially because it’s a rivalry but not a rivalry just going back to when I first got here and we always want to beat these guys. I think they’re a half a game ahead of us too in the standings, so that’s another frustrating thing. But we can’t ask for a better game and now we get ready for New York.”
The final shot did nothing to take away from Davis’ effort on the night which was once again outstanding. The big man finished with 30 points and 17 rebounds, seven of those coming on the offensive end, along with two blocks and two steals.
Davis has been on an absolute tear since returning from injury and the Lakers have needed every bit of it just to be competitive with LeBron James out.
Davis: ‘No one feels sorry for us’
Making things even more difficult on this night was the loss of Carmelo Anthony in the second quarter and injuries have continued to be the story of this season for the Lakers. But Davis understands that nobody is feeling sorry for the Lakers.
“Like I said, it’s frustrating. That shot didn’t lose us the game, but it stings that we did it on the defensive end. They got a lot of open looks early in the game and throughout that third quarter, we were way off defensively. We didn’t know what we were doing and they were manipulating our defense and getting good looks, Serge especially. So we kind of dug ourselves a hole and had to fight back. But like I said, it’s tough because they were a half-game ahead of us and we’re fighting. Dealing with injuries all year, COVID earlier in the year, and it’s an uphill battle for us now. Missing [LeBron James], we just got to keep plugging away. Obviously there’s no moral victories and no one feels sorry for us, we got to find a way, keep pushing. We got another tough game, actually these next like four for us are gonna be tough games. So we just got to keep pushing and try to get all four of these.”
This season has been far from ideal for the Lakers with absolutely no let up from an injury standpoint. If there is one positive lately it has been the play of Anthony Davis and regardless of who else is on the court, a healthy Davis and LeBron James playing at the level they have been this year will always give the Lakers a chance.
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