The Los Angeles Lakers picked up their seventh straight loss, and 10th in 11 games, on Monday night as they fell to the Minnesota Timberwolves, 114-96. After a grueling double-overtime loss the night before, the Lakers came out with no energy and quickly faced a 16-0 deficit.
As has usually been the case this season, the Lakers would fight back, cutting the deficit to just five points in the second half before ultimately succumbing. Once again, familiar issues plagued the Lakers as turnovers and fouls gave Minnesota plenty of easy points.
Head coach Luke Walton spoke about those issues costing the Lakers after the game, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“When you try to win on the road, if you turn the ball over and foul the home team, then you’re going to make it pretty impossible for you. With the 16-0 start or whatever, more importantly, we have to protect the ball. And then we can’t send people to the foul line.”
Walton added that until the Lakers improve on those things, they will continue to struggle:
“As the season goes, it gets more challenging obviously with injuries and whatnot, we’ve slipped in those things. Those have been two big issues for us all year. It’s just something we’ve got to keep working on. It’s not going to get better until we get better at those.”
The Lakers committed 24 turnovers and fouled the Timberwolves 25 times, leading to 30 free throw attempts of which Minnesota hit 27. Those, along with free throw shooting (20-of-29, 69 percent on Monday) have been the Lakers’ issues for most of this season.
Walton has tried different things to fix these issues, forcing everyone to make hundreds of free throws after practice and punishing players with suicides for turnovers during drills, but nothing has worked.
The Lakers rank 28th in the NBA in fouls, 29th in turnovers, and dead last in free-throw shooting. The silver lining is that the Lakers have been in most games despite this so even improving to league average would lead to much different results.
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