The Los Angeles Lakers have again suffered a painful defeat despite playing some good basketball, falling to the L.A. Clippers on Friday.
The Lakers let their opponents shoot 38.5% from beyond the arc and suffered some defensive setbacks that allowed the Clippers to build a 16-point lead in the second quarter. On the other hand, the Purple and Gold did a good job at taking care of the ball and hurting their rivals in transition
That allowed them to take the lead back in the second half and keep it for the majority of the fourth period. However, defensive lapses, poor execution, and unfortunate calls by the officials in the last minutes of the game helped the Clippers snatch the win in the end.
Russell Westbrook said the mistakes in crunch time proved costly for the Lakers.
“I just feel like we didn’t get stops when we needed to, obviously,” Westbrook said. “I feel like we could use our advantage a little more and attack the basket. We got some good looks. It’s a close game, but we weren’t good enough.”
The Purple and Gold went 4-for-12 overall and 2-for-6 from downtown in the last six minutes of the clash, suddenly finding it hard to get to the basket. Although Westbrook couldn’t immediately point to the reasons behind the Lakers’ inability to score late in the game, the guard thought attacking the paint made sense for the Lakers in crunch time and they should have done it more.
“I’ll look at the film and see, but I know that we’re pretty good at getting downhill and attacking the basket regardless of what defense they’re in,” he said. “That’s just from my perspective, what I thought we should’ve done to close the game. We did get some good looks from the perimeter as well.”
Westbrook added the loss hurts even more considering the Lakers and the Clippers are direct rivals in the race for the sixth seed in the Western Conference. In the aftermath of the Friday defeat, Purple and Gold fell 2.5 games behind the eight-placed Clippers and 7.5 games behind the Denver Nuggets in sixth.
“A lot of things we could’ve done a lot better throughout the game,” Westbrook said. “Not good enough tonight, especially [against] a team you’re trying to catch and close the gap on. So got to be better.”
Carmelo Anthony defends last-second shot attempt in Lakers’ loss to Clippers
Carmelo Anthony had a chance to send the game to overtime, getting the ball in his hands after the Lakers fell three points behind the Clippers with just seconds left in the game. But his long-range attempt for 3 fell short, practically sealing the fate of the clash.
However, Anthony didn’t think he took a bad shot on the crucial possession of the night.
“It is what it is. I’ll take that same shot any night,” he said.
“Tonight, it was just that moment where my legs weren’t underneath me on that particular shot. Overall, I felt like I was getting my legs back, getting my rhythm back as the game went on.”
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