Luke Walton Praises Lakers For Handling Atmosphere At Madison Square Garden
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers came up short against the New York Knicks, 113-109, on Tuesday night, but the team fought back from a late deficit to force overtime in Madison Square Garden before ultimately falling in the five extra minutes.

The Lakers trailed by five points with 1:29 remaining in regulation, but a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope tip-in followed by a clutch triple from Kyle Kuzma tied the game. Kristaps Porzingis missed a contested shot at the end of regulation.

The rally showed impressive composure on the road for a young team that had won back-to-back games away from Staples Center for the first time this season.

Although the end result was a loss, Lakers head coach Luke Walton said he was impressed with the way his team handled the hostile crowd at Madison Square Garden, via Spectrum Sportsnet:

“They were good. It was awesome in there. National TV, you’ve got a chance to play in the most famous arena in the NBA. Our guys weren’t as clean, we didn’t play the type of game I would preferred, but sometimes it’s good even in sloppy nights like we had tonight, to see your guys leave it out there. Obviously, we want to win that game. But we found a way to compete, we found a way to give ourselves a chance on a huge stage. It was a great experience for a lot of our young guys. Even though, if you look in the locker room, they’re sick. It hurts, which is what it should be like. But it was a nice opportunity for us tonight.”

It’s probably a good sign for the Lakers’ future that the team was upset after such a close loss after they rallied back. Even if winning three games in a row on the road was unlikely for such an inexperienced roster.

But while some rebuilding teams would use that as an excuse, the Lakers aren’t. Their young players clearly care deeply about winning and losing, and are concerned about the right things.

These losses might hurt now, but they’re invaluable learning experiences for such a youthful squad, and may be the catalyst for wins in the future.

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