The Los Angeles Lakers led for a large portion of their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Unfortunately when it came down to crunch time, Luke Walton’s team simply couldn’t come through when it mattered most and fell 119-111.
The loss was the Lakers third straight going into the All-Star Break, an unfortunate circumstance following a great run in which they won 12 of 16 games. Their losing streak began last weekend, and each defeat has come on the road.
There were a number of reasons the Lakers came up short, but Walton focused on the Lakers’ issues with fouls and even compared the loss to some of the Lakers’ early-season struggles, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“We fouled too much. We sent them to the line 15 times in the fourth quarter. Although we did a lot of things tonight well enough to win, it kind of felt like one of those games from earlier in the season where we were playing really hard and competing, right there, and then just didn’t know how to close a game out. For some reason we kind of fell back to that. Some of that was their defensive pressure, some of that was us just not making shots. Defensively, although good enough for parts of the game, not good enough down the stretch to win a road NBA game.”
The Lakers definitely had moments where they looked as if they could pull away, but the fouls, as well as their inability to hit open shots from deep did them in.
The Timberwolves made 29 of their 31 free throws, and after the Lakers held them to just 22 points in the third quarter, exploded for 35 in the fourth.
This definitely isn’t the way the Lakers wanted to go into the break, but the good news is that they get a week to rest and get ready for the final stretch. There is still plenty of time for Walton and the Lakers to salvage a promising season if they can get certain things back on track.
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