The Los Angeles Lakers have endured some brutal losses during the 2022-23 season, but their recent heartbreaker really takes the cake.
The Lakers fell to the Dallas Mavericks in double overtime after climbing all the way back from a 19-point deficit. As has been the case in close losses, Los Angeles failed to execute offensively down the stretch with LeBron James particularly having a hard time finishing as he looked gassed after playing 47 minutes.
The officiating also left plenty to be desired as both teams had legitimate gripes with how the game was called throughout the night. However, the Lakers should have no one to blame but themselves as they shot a horrendous 10-of-41 from the 3-point line and a disappointing 17-of-27 from the free-throw line.
Despite the poor shooting from key areas, Los Angeles looked like they were in the driver’s seat at the end of regulation where they were up by three. Needing only one stop, though, they allowed Luka Doncic to play one-on-one where he eventually sunk a three to force the game into its force overtime. Reflecting on that possession, Darvin Ham admitted he should’ve blitzed Doncic to get the ball out of his hands.
“No, we wasn’t looking to foul. … We needed to feel confident in the five guys we had out there defending and he did when Luka [Doncic] does and made a shot and I’m kicking myself in the butt. Need to coach a little better than that. We should have blitzed them. But you know, again, one or at least forced him outside the three-point line. Those situations are kind of chaotic, or the chatter everything’s going on trying to figure out matchups, and we’re going to read it and switch anyway, so that was that. I’ll take the bullet for that. That’s on me. We have to be better defensively in those moments.”
Most teams would choose to foul when up three in order to prevent the other team from even getting a 3-point attempt up. Fouling would’ve also made sense because the Mavericks were out of timeouts, meaning they would have had to foul the Lakers and bring the ball up full court.
Even Doncic himself was surprised that the Lakers didn’t double him or foul.
“Yeah, I was a little bit surprised,” Doncic said. “I don’t know why they didn’t. I thought they were gonna foul, honestly. But I tried to get it before they fouled me.”
Ham and the team were also forced to play through an overtime period where Doncic once again came up clutch. Facing an identical situation, Doncic nailed a contested 3-pointer to force a second overtime where Dallas eventually outlasted L.A. It’s those kinds of marginal decisions that have come back to haunt the Lakers as they look to gather wins in a relatively even Western Conference playing field.
This is a loss that’s going to sting the Purple and Gold for a while as it should’ve been their game to win, but that’s just how this season’s gone so far.
Luka Doncic doesn’t expect to play 20 seasons like LeBron James
Every time Doncic plays the Lakers he always seems to put on a show, recording a triple-double in their most recent matchup. At only 23 years old, Doncic will dominate the NBA for a long time but he said he doesn’t expect to play as long as James has.
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