in one of its lowest moments lakers The following season, the ball crossed the court to a spot behind the three-point line above the left elbow and Andrew Neimhardt swiped up a game-winner.
That was a November 28 game the Lakers wanted to forget.
They will think about it now.
“It’s like Indiana again,” a disappointed darwin ham Said.
With an opportunity to gain valuable ground in the Western Conference playoff race, the Lakers again looked lost with a last-second three from the same spot – this one. maxi kleber Giving shots on Friday night.
“It sucks to say the least,” Austin Reeves Said.
111-110 loss Friday would have been miserable enough on its own, but with the team dealing with a loss in Houston Anthony Davis out as a precaution Due to his foot injury earlier this year, the Lakers are officially headed in the wrong direction.
This is the first time the Lakers have lost consecutive games in more than a month.
“If you don’t care about losing the games that are really worthwhile, what’s the point of playing?” Reeves said.
The Lakers have been clear in their strategy over the past month, prioritizing health ahead of standings. With no restrictions, no back-to-back games to stop anyone, Friday, the Lakers had just one opportunity.
playing the Mavericks, a team only one game ahead of them standing Entering Friday’s game, the Lakers had an opportunity to make a real move. Minnesota, Golden State, New Orleans and Portland all is lostGiving the team a priceless opportunity to gain ground.
He didn’t take it.
After falling behind by 14, the Lakers fought back to lead by five in the fourth before the Mavericks mounted a comeback.
Three free throws from Kleber (after Davis fouled on three) made it a one-score game in the final minute.
Davis then split two free throws to give the Mavericks a chance to win or tie.
There will be no overtime, the Lakers will force the ball out Kyrie IrvingKleber stepped up and turned the shot around as soon as the horn sounded.
Davis finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds and five other Lakers scored at least 10 on a night where the team was badly outplayed from the three-point line by Irving and the Mavericks.
Dallas made 11 more threes than the Lakers, who missed 12 free throws, compared to only four for the Mavericks, who were without luka doncic,
Irving scored 38 to lead Dallas.
After the loss, which moved the Lakers into a slight lead ahead of Utah for the final play-in spot, the Lakers said they needed to play like a team that needed them all.
But with restrictions on whether Davis can play back-to-back, doing so is obviously difficult.
That strategy has a cost — and it’s a team from around the Western Conference that is willing to pay.
By emphasizing potential postseason health instead of regular-season victories, teams like the Lakers, Clippers and Mavericks are sacrificing important games in the race for a potentially packed playoff run.
It’s not completely off the radar. shootout on friday dennis schroder told reporters that he had his eyes set on a specific place – outside play-in tournaments.
“I think with how we are as a group right now, the chemistry, I think, is in a perfect place,” Schroder said. “Like I said, we just have to try to get the No. 6 seed, that is our target and our desire. And then go from there.
Still, the No. 6 seed will open the playoffs on the road.
Ham, who has more than 25 years of NBA experience as a player and a coach, has observed that the shift towards health has become the most important thing for teams as they head into the post-season.
“I don’t think it’s completely changed, but I think health takes precedence [seeding]Ham said before Friday’s game. “…and the playoffs, I don’t want to say it’s exaggerated, but you have to win on the road at some point to be world champion, so you just have to be solid, healthy, confident and playing in good rhythm.”
“And it doesn’t matter where you play, you give yourself a chance. But just having home court, I’ve seen teams have many, many, many seasons after home court advantage and it didn’t matter, because they gave up those home games.
History, however, says that teams that have to fight hard in the playoffs are at a tremendous disadvantage.
The 1995 Houston Rockets are the lowest seeded team to win a title since beginning those playoffs as the sixth seed in the West.
The 1999 New York Knicks made the Finals as the eighth seed in the lockout-shortened season.
The Lakers’ seeding hopes are not personally tied to whether Davis is on the court in back-to-back games (the Lakers play the Jazz and Clippers in their last back-to-back of the year).
LeBron James continues to make progress, with Schroder saying he’s watched James go through several daily workouts in an effort to make a comeback.
With time still on the clock for the season, bringing him back would be a huge boost.
Pregame, Hamm cautioned against a team looking at standings or setting specific win/loss goals in its last dozen games.
Ham said, “Each sport is its own entity, and we need to look at it as such.” “Making sure we maximize and make sure every day we improve as much as we can as we try to achieve our goal. But just taking them one at a time.
“We can’t get overwhelmed where we have 12 left and we will get to that number [of wins], and you start to see things. Our priority has been to live in the moment and take it one at a time.
Friday, though, it was the Mavericks who took it.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times,