The Los Angeles Lakers have seemingly made it a habit of trying to dig themselves out of holes late in games, with their most recent comeback attempt against the Los Angeles Clippers thwarted by a Reggie Jackson game-winner.
The Lakers wound up losing 111-110 to the Clippers after mounting yet another second-half surge that gave fans hope that they could pull off a win. To the Lakers’ credit, they actually took a lead late in the fourth quarter after Malik Monk hit a clutch 3-pointer, but a defensive lapse allowed Jackson to score right at the basket and seal their fate.
While most people will point to that sequence as the reason for the Lakers’ loss, the more glaring issue was their lackadaisical third-quarter showing. The Lakers looked completely out of sync on both ends of the floor and went down by as many as 17 points.
It has been a frustrating theme for the 2021-22 season and Monk admitted he and the rest of the roster are exhausted talking about their lack of energy.
“We just got to stay together,” Monk said after the game. “We can’t get down like we did in the third (quarter). We can’t let the game slip away like that for us. It’s always hard for us to fight back. We all just put all our energy out there trying to do that. We got to keep the game under control.”
Why the Lakers haven’t played with effort at times is a question everybody has been wondering all season, and Monk is still searching for answers.
“It’s a good question. We’re trying to figure the same thing out. We talk about it every day. Every time we’re together we talk about why’s that happens. We don’t know. I’m tired of saying it. We got to figure this shit out.”
Even though Monk’s frustration is warranted, he made sure to add that the Lakers are continuing to stay together and work through their issues, even though it’s been tough for some guys individually.
“I wouldn’t say it’s affecting us, I’d say it’s individual things. But as a team, we’re together. We talk all the time. We never get down. We never separate from each other. I think it’s individuals that just get down sometimes and we all fall into it. The whole team. We all fall into it if you are not getting playing time or anything like that. We all kind of fall victim to it, but we shake back because everybody knows what’s going on.”
At 25-28, there are not many positives to take away from the Lakers’ season as they struggle to generate positive momentum for extended stretches. This recent blown opportunity against the Clippers particularly stings because of the play-in tournament ramifications. After this loss, the Lakers have fallen further behind the Clippers in the race for the No. 8 seed and will need to win their future matchups to keep pace.
As for where the Lakers go from here, they will need to hope LeBron James is able to come back sooner rather than later as they sorely miss his presence, especially in late-game situations. The New York Knicks roll into Los Angeles on Saturday, presenting an opportunity to get right and wash away the taste of this bitter defeat.
Monk credits Jackson for game-winner
The Lakers and Clippers were going back and forth hitting big shot after big shot to close out the game.
Monk discussed how it feels mentally being in a game like that while also crediting Jackson for landing the last blow.
“I don’t know, man. It’s just up and down. Mixed emotions. You can’t get too high, you can’t get too low… It was a hell of a play by Reggie [Jackson]. Salute.”
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