In the 126-111 loss to the Houston Rockets, head coach Luke Walton saw the Los Angeles Lakers somehow stay in the game despite poor free throw shooting and questionable foul calls against them.
As James Harden had a 50-point triple-double complete with 19 free throw attempts, the Lakers certainly did not help themselves. Aside from the foul calls, LeBron James and the Lakers were 15-of-27 from the free throw line.
Following the first of a four-game road trip, Walton called on his team to do a better job of keeping their composure when playing in hostile environments, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Whether it was frustrated with some calls or Harden making some shots, whatever it is, I thought we could’ve done a better job of keeping our composure as a group. I think that’s a great learning experience for us as we try to prep for becoming a type of team that can win towards the end of the year. We have to be able to succeed in tough environments and when things aren’t going in our favor. The only way to learn how to do that is to go through it. I thought tonight was an example of that. We could’ve done some things better.”
At 17-11 and still fifth in the Western Conference, this was a good learning experience, especially for the young core. In the final weeks of the 2018-19 NBA season and potential playoff games, the Lakers will face these type of situations and they will need to figure out how to still win.
Outside of Harden’s 9-0 run in the fourth quarter, the Lakers gave themselves a chance. With more experience, they are a dangerous team that gets better each and every month.