L.A.

Luke Walton says final shot was for Julius Randle

Julius Randle, Lakers
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LOS ANGELES —  Heading into Friday’s game against the Miami Heat, the Los Angeles Lakers had won 12 straight homes games. 

However, this recent success at Staples Center didn’t translate this time around Heat pulling out on a 92-91 win in the final moments of the game on a go-ahead Goran Dragic floater that was banked in with 15.2 seconds left that pushed him to a game-high 30 points on the night. 

The Lakers had an opportunity to come out on top on the final possession with 7.5 seconds left but point guard Isaiah Thomas missed a step back 14-foot jumper that was short and Los Angeles was unable to corral the rebound for another attempt before the buzzer. 

Following the game, head coach Luke Walton expressed that the final play call was for Julius Randle, who had a team-high 25 points, was going to take the shot but the team was unable to give him the ball to even take an attempt. However, he was satisfied by the kind of look at he shot Thomas got. 

“The ball to get to Julius,” Walton said. “The guy defending Zo did a good job of leaving and denying Julius. We couldn’t get the ball in. Isaiah got a clean look though. We can’t complain about that. I think he was probably a little cold. He had been on the bench for awhile but if you get an open look for someone like IT at the end like that, you live with that.”

Thomas also voiced similar sentiment on that play stating that he was satisfied with the look he got on the final shot while also taking the blame for it not going in. 

“I thought it was going in.,” said Thomas, who had five points on 1-of-9 shooting in 27 minutes played. “It was just short. I got a good look and I got the separation that I wanted, it just fell short.”

Up to that point, Thomas had missed his first seven shots with his only make coming on a layup midway through the fourth quarter before being subbed out with 6:50 left in the game for Brook Lopez. Despite that being the case, Randle expressed that he had full trust that the two-time All-Star could hit the shot.

“Absolutely, that’s what he does,” Randle said. “That’s what he’s made his off of.”

Nonetheless, it was a back-and-forth contest throughout the contest that saw 16 lead changes and the Lakers erase a seven-point deficit late to take a one-point lead at 91-90 with 1:23 left in the fourth quarter after a 3-pointer by rookie forward Kyle Kuzma. They also had an opportunity to extend it up to three points on a missed 10-foot hook shot by Randle that rimmed in and out, and ultimately gave Dragic a chance to take the lead. 

Los Angeles will look to rebound in their next game on Monday night against the Indiana Pacers, which will mark the first of a four-game road. 

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Bob Garcia IV

Staff Writer at Sports Out West
Bob Garcia IV is a sports journalist from Southern California. He's currently the Los Angeles Lakers beat writer for Sports Out West. He is also currently covering the NBA and NFL for ClutchPoints. He was previously the beat writer for LA Rams Report for Scout.com, which is a website dedicated to covering the Rams. Lastly, he was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarciaivsports.
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