In a season that has been full of them, the Los Angeles Lakers took another punch to the gut on Friday night when they lost to the Dallas Mavericks on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
After falling down by nine, the Lakers fought all the way back in the fourth quarter and seemed to take control. Anthony Davis had some costly plays at the end though, first fouling Kleber on a 3 while up four, then missing a free throw of his own, and finally losing Kleber in the waning seconds, allowing him to get a look at the buzzer.
Wenyen Gabriel, who played one of his best games of the season with nine points and 11 rebounds in 23 minutes, summed up how the Lakers were feeling after the loss pretty well.
“It was the last shot of the game. It was devastating, for sure,” Gabriel said. “Took the breath out of all of us. We’re still trying to deal with that right now. But honestly, we just have to make this playoff push, like Coach always says, we just have to get back to work fill our cups up and go recharge.”
Gabriel has been through a lot in his short time with the team, suffering a number of crushing losses with the Lakers unable to get over the hump and back into championship contention.
While Gabriel still believes the Lakers are currently in the best spot they’ve been in, he also discussed how they can be better closing out these tight games.
“That’s part of it. Like you said, even since I’ve been here last year, there’s been a lot of ups and downs. But I would say that the place we’re in right now is probably the best place that we’ve been in since I got here last year in terms of spirit and we have a real talented team. We have a real good opportunity to do what we’re trying to do. But we also made the trades late at the deadline so we also have to find that continuity as well with our half-court offense. When we get a couple stops and get out on the break, it’s all great. The ball flies around, we get great shots. But sometimes the game comes down to the last few minutes where we have to execute in the half-court. That’s where we’ve been struggling a little bit lately.
“That’s something that we say comes with chemistry as well, but we really have to look at film and get better from this if we really want to make a run because we’re gonna be in this type of situation a lot. There’s gonna be close games at the end of the games, that’s how you win games whether it’s the end of the season, the playoffs or wherever we’re in. That’s how people are gonna guard you they’re gonna throw difference looks at you and we’re gonna have to make adjustments. We’re gonna get better from this. It hurts, definitely. You’re gonna have losses like this so we just got to build.”
Davis describes vantage point of Kleber game-winner
As previously stated, even though he had a strong game, Davis played a key part in the Lakers being unable to close it out.
He described his vantage point for a number of those late-game plays, specifically the Kleber game-winner.
“There was seven seconds and he dribbled almost the whole clock out. We were just reading [Kyrie] knowing he was probably gonna take the last shot. He went into the shooting motion and just came down with it, didn’t shoot it. So when he went up, it kind of pulled me in, I was going for the rebound thinking he was shooting it. And he made the pass to Kleber, who made the shot.”
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