LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers ventured in Monday’s contest against the San Antonio Spurs in search of their first win of the season despite shorthanded with both Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo out due to suspension.
The Lakers were able to rally back from a porous start to the game falling behind double digits that saw them make a huge push in the final minute of the fourth quarter going on an 8-0 run to force overtime after a pull-up 3-pointer from LeBron James.
However, Los Angeles fell short in overtime despite holding a six-point lead with just under a minute to go in overtime as a pair of free throws by James wound up being the difference as Patty Mills made a 22-foot jumper. James had a chance to make up for his missed opportunities at the free throw line with a step-back jumper going to his left in the waning second came up just short sending the Lakers to a 143-142 loss.
It was yet another disappointing finish, but there was no panic or discouragement from the result in the third straight defeat to begin the season as there is a clear understanding across the board that is still a process of building chemistry on the court.
“We’re good. We had 3 very tough games. We were in all 3,” said Josh Hart, who had 20 points for the second time this season. “We are a new team. We got a lot of chemistry to work on. We still got to get used to each other defensively. We’re good. We got a young team and a learning experience when lose down the stretch in a tight game.”
There was plenty to take away from the contest as it saw Hart continue to strive off the bench while Kyle Kuzma took advantage of the increased role dropping 37 points while Lonzo Ball continued to remain a reliable offensive threat from distance nailing three 3-pointers for the second straight contest. It is a positive direction that the Lakers continue to head in that James has become quite encouraged by in the early goings of the season.
“We are going to continue to get better,” said James, who had 32 points, a game-high 14 assists, and eight rebounds. “I like the direction we are going in. Obviously it’s not resulting in wins right now but it is such a long process.”
Los Angeles has plenty of areas to clean up defensively, but it something that the team is still building the on-court chemistry that there is a strong confidence that it will all get figured out.
“I don’t like to use moral victories, but it kind of bodes well,” Kuzma said. “The three teams we faced have played together for quite some time and be in every single game sort of means something.,”
Bob Garcia IV
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