The Los Angeles Lakers lost 105-102 to the L.A. Clippers on Friday, failing to turn a good performance into a victory yet again this season.
The Lakers fell by more than 15 points behind the Clippers in the second period, but a strong second-half push allowed them to overcome the deficit — and even lead for the majority of the final quarter.
However, the Purple and Gold lost the momentum after a bizarre ending to the clash that saw the officials review a couple of contentious decisions for over 20 minutes. The Clippers took a three-point lead with 18.2 seconds left in the game, which turned out to be enough to claim a win.
Carmelo Anthony had a chance to win it but missed his attempt from way beyond the arc, sealing the Lakers’ 32nd loss of the season.
“It started with that call, that challenge,” Anthony said of that possession. “From there, it was just a matter of us trying to figure it out. I think they were up one, some seconds left, down the stretch. We drew up our play, ran the play. LeBron had the ball on the left wing.
“The Clippers did a good job of sending two, three guys at him and getting it out of his hands. At that time, it was just a matter of just getting a look at the basket at that point.”
Anthony played his first game since Feb. 3 on Friday, returning to the rotation after dealing with a hamstring injury he suffered in the previous loss to the Clippers. The 37-year-old forward said the break impacted his fitness levels, contributing to the missed shot in the last possession of the game.
“I think I still had two seconds or something like that. It was just a matter of getting a good look. I shot it short. My legs weren’t underneath me. I missed it,” Anthony explained.
“It is what it is. I’ll take that same shot any night. Tonight, it was just that moment where my legs weren’t underneath me on that particular shot. Overall, I felt like I was getting my legs back, getting my rhythm back as the game went on.
“First quarter was just seeing where I was at physically. What I could do, what my limitations were out there. As the game went on, it was just a matter of me getting right back in pocket out there.”
Frank Vogel disagrees with late call against Lakers
The Clippers led by one point when LeBron James rebounded the ball off Russell Westbrook’s missed layup, throwing it towards Robert Covington with about 25 seconds left on the clock.
Covington caught it and stepped out of bounds, initially prompting the officials to rule the Lakers would keep the ball. But after a long review, they changed the decision despite loud protests from the Purple and Gold.
After the game, head coach Frank Vogel didn’t hide his frustration with the crunch-time call.
“It’s a complicated play. They’re going to take as much time as it takes to get it right. I disagree strongly with the ruling. I think it’s total B.S,” Vogel said.
“The whistle doesn’t blow until Covington steps out of bounds. So to go back to Bron stepping out of bounds is a separate entity entirely. I couldn’t disagree more strongly with the ruling.”
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