The Los Angeles Lakers can’t seem to catch a break, with the team losing yet another incredibly close and competitive game that came down to the wire. The Dallas Mavericks got the best of the Lakers on Friday night at Crypto.com Arena, with Maxi Kleber hitting a game-winning three at the buzzer, leaving the Lakers three games below .500 and searching for an answer to their on-court issues.
After another solid performance off the bench for Austin Reaves, the second-year guard spoke to the media about the impact of the loss to a team also fighting to make a push for the playoffs.
“Every game you lose as a competitor hurts,” Reaves said. “Obviously, with what it is right now where we’re at where they’re at and us trying to get in the playoffs, it sucks, to say the least. But 61 from the free-throw line it’s not good. If we made 25 of those, it’s a little less stressful down the stretch. I missed three, which is inexcusable. That’s the main thing, and then energy-wise, just got to figure out something to propel us up.”
Free-throw shooting was a concern of head Darvin Ham’s following the loss, as he also made it clear that shooting 61.3% from the charity stripe will not get the job done in a close game.
With the Lakers two straight games to teams they should’ve beaten, Reaves admits the mood in the locker room is not great, but that’s to be expected from a team that wants to win basketball games.
“The mood is obviously down,” Reaves said of the Lakers locker room. “I mean, just because you lose a tough one and one that we really wanted, one that we needed. We need them all from here on out. But we’re a group of competitors. So that’s obviously why I’d be worried if the mood wasn’t like that. Just because, if you don’t care about losing games that are really meaningful, then what’s the point of playing? So I thought the mood was exactly what it should have been. Go in tomorrow, watch a lot of film, and learn from our mistakes. I think we’ve bounced back pretty good with this group after losses. I don’t know if we’ve had back-to-back losses until now. But we got to figure out how we move on and play the next game.”
Although the team has dipped to three games below the .500 mark with three losses in their last four games, the Lakers still have hope and need to turn things around on Sunday night when they host the lowly Orlando Magic.