After a two-game winning streak that was comprised of victories over the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets, the Los Angeles Lakers were looking for redemption against the San Antonio Spurs.
Want to get your content COMPLETELY AD FREE? Follow us on Apple News!
But for a second time in five days, the Lakers collapsed late in the game and suffered their fourth loss of the 2018-19 NBA season.
Despite leading for most of the game, head coach Luke Walton noticed a change late in the third quarter.
With Rajon Rondo returning from a three-game suspension, Walton believes the team did not stay true to their identity, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I thought we got away from who we were halfway through the third. We stopped pushing the ball, we got stagnant. They made some good plays, we missed some shots. We just got away what we’ve done really well so far this season.”
As the Lakers were down by three points, Rondo dribbled out looking for a 3-pointer instead of making a wide-open layup. Walton attempted to make sense of the sequence:
“We were down three, so I think he was figuring let’s try to get an opening, let’s try to tie this thing up. Obviously, he knows what he’s doing out there, but that was his call.”
Although the Lakers could have played the foul game, Rondo apparently wanted a chance at them tying the game with no timeouts remaining. After an offensive rebound and one free throw made by Josh Hart, Pau Gasol made both free throws and sealed the win for the Spurs.
With the Lakers being competitive in all of their losses, the hope is LeBron James and the young core can learn how to close out games sooner rather than later.