LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton blamed himself after a late turnover contributed to his workforce’s collapse within the waning minutes of a 131-120 loss to the NBA’s greatest workforce, the Milwaukee Bucks, on Friday.
Trailing 121-118 with lower than two minutes to play, Walton known as a timeout to attract up a play designed to feed LeBron James the ball and provides him area within the open flooring to mount an assault.
Solely, whereas the mission of the play was clearly communicated, Walton mentioned he failed to emphasise the preliminary set off: inbounding the ball cleanly from the baseline.
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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the inbound man and turned it over whereas making an attempt to feed it to James, who was sandwiched by two Bucks defenders — Malcolm Brogdon and Ersan Ilyasova — in the midst of the lane. Ilyasova tipped the lob move away from James out to Khris Middleton, and Middleton discovered Brogdon within the nook for a three that doubled the Bucks’ result in six with 1:48 left.
“I will take that duty,” Walton mentioned after the loss. “I took with no consideration that we might get the ball inbounds. That’s on me. We’ve an additional timeout, we have to take it. We will not afford to show that ball over proper there. However they got here up with the press, and we did not get open and at that time we in all probability ought to have known as that final timeout. I do know guys at all times need to save them, nevertheless it was a pricey play within the recreation.”
Caldwell-Pope discovered himself at fault, too, noting his position within the play going awry.
“I used to be simply in search of somebody to get open. I may’ve run the baseline and I did not,” he mentioned.
The Brogdon three was a part of a 15-2 closing run by the Bucks that dropped the Lakers’ report to 30-32 — 3½ video games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the eighth and last playoff spot within the Western Convention with 20 video games to play.
Afterward, James — who has preached positivity all week — let the frustration of the loss sink in.
“We blew it,” James advised ESPN.
The Lakers led the Bucks by as many as 12 factors halfway by way of the third quarter earlier than letting Milwaukee again in it. In accordance with information compiled by ESPN Stats & Data, it was the seventh time this season that L.A. has misplaced after holding a double-digit lead within the second half this season, the second-most squandered alternatives within the NBA behind solely the Orlando Magic, who’ve finished it 9 instances.
“I imply, pay attention, that is win or lose. And clearly you need to construct, nevertheless it’s win or lose in that specific second,” James mentioned, including that he lives within the current. “Tomorrow, we have to be nice tomorrow within the subsequent recreation. We will not say, ‘OK, we have been nice three quarters, three-and-a-half quarters versus Milwaukee, we will carry that.’ Nope, we won’t do this. We’ve to be nice towards Phoenix and hit the restart button.”
From 7:09 remaining within the third quarter — when the Lakers held their largest lead till — to the ultimate buzzer, the Bucks shot 22-for-34 from the sector (64.7 %), together with going 7-for-13 from three (53.eight %) and scored 12 factors off 5 Lakers turnovers.
“Protection,” Rajon Rondo provided as the explanation for L.A.’s demise. “Easy as that. And so they made three or 4 three-point performs. I had a nasty turnover within the fourth, simply led to a domino impact on the defensive finish. Could not get stops.”
The Lakers play the 12-51 Suns on Saturday after which return to Staples Middle for a three-game homestand towards the LA Clippers, Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics — three groups that might qualify for the postseason if the playoffs began at the moment.
“I believed towards among the finest groups within the league we actually performed effectively after which for some purpose, we type of fell aside on the finish there,” Walton mentioned. “We all know we’ve got to make performs. … Once we are enjoying the elite groups, any workforce, we’ve got to take video games.”