Nothing comes easy for the Los Angeles Lakers. To be absolutely fair, the rotation is ridiculously thin at this point, but the New York Knicks probably should not have provided the problems they did for most of the game Friday night. The Lakers worked to get back into it and at multiple points held leads, but once again, the team’s offense stalled late and they suffered one of the more frustrating losses of the season.
Heading into Friday night’s festivities, the thought was that despite the depleted roster, the Lakers could take care of business against one of the worst teams in the NBA. Then, the beginning of the game and most of the first half happened. The Lakers were able to crawl back into the game, but the start was inarguably disappointing.
Luke Walton had mentioned before the Lakers’ loss against Oklahoma City that he wanted Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram to be “aggressive” more consistently. Neither guy jumped off the screen either statistically or by the eye test, but they didn’t float as obviously as they did against the Thunder, so at least that feels like progress. Their aggression was misdirected, as they combined for 15 turnovers, including a game-sealing one from Lonzo Ball.
Once the Lakers climbed back into the game, it was a back-and-forth affair. There were very few instances after just about three-quarters of the way through the third quarter where either team built anything close to a comfortable lead.
The referees played much too large a role in the game, as very few streaks between calls went longer than a few possessions. As an aside, refereeing this season has been pretty disappointing. The NBA is just about as talented if not more so than it’s ever been, and yet too many games’ rhythms are thrown off by all the whistles.
After talking about how they can’t avoid slowing the pace in the fourth quarter, the Lakers once against failed to execute down the stretch even despite going against one of the league’s worst teams. It wound up costing them.
The Lakers will have a day off before taking on the Timberwolves in Minnesota on Sunday.