The Los Angeles Lakers have performed way below expectations in 2021-22, going through three-quarters of the season with a 28-37 record.
However, they lost by the finest of margins in many of those losses. In 62% of L.A.’s games, the two sides were just five points apart with just five minutes left on the clock. No other NBA team has played this many games that went down to the wire in 2021-22.
Overall, the Lakers scored just one point less than their opponents in those clutch minutes — but won just 45% of the close contests, showing how hefty a price they have paid for their mistakes.
LeBron James acknowledged the inconsistency in L.A.’s play has severely hurt the Purple and Gold this season.
“We play some good basketball and then we don’t play good basketball,” James said after the overtime 139-130 loss to the Houston Rockets. “We have good quarters and we don’t have good quarters. Tonight it just seemed like we couldn’t get a two-possession lead. … We couldn’t get two stops in a row to extend the lead. They made big shots, tough shots. Jalen Green was excellent tonight with his shot-making ability. All those guys made shot after shot after shot.
“We just haven’t been able to close out games and make enough plays to win. It definitely plays a part and it starts sinking into your mind a little bit for sure.”
James added the Lakers’ opponents have made a terrific job at making them pay for the errors they make during games.
“We just don’t have a lot of room for error,” the Lakers superstar said.
“We make a mistake or we break down defensively or we don’t get a good look at the basket. Teams are literally making us pay every time. It’s not like we’re getting away with things and it’s just that simple. We have a very small margin of error and teams are making us pay.”
James Worthy says Lakers ‘can’t win’ after loss to Rockets
Lakers legend James Worthy highlighted the lack of tenacity in the Purple and Gold’s game after the loss to the Rockets. Worthy said L.A. doesn’t appear to “believe in anything that they’re doing.”
He added the Lakers often don’t seem to have faith in their ability to beat other teams. “Now I think they realize they can’t win. They don’t feel like they can. This is what I’m seeing…” Worthy said.
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