Lakers fall to the Knicks, lacking likelihood to succeed in .500

The Lakers hadn’t been on this precise spot since Oct. 20 final 12 months, the final time their basketball group was one win away from night their report at .500.

That was the second sport of the common season.

Quite a bit has modified since then.

In that loss to the Clippers, Russell Westbrook missed all 11 of his pictures, Patrick Beverley made just one in seven tries, and 4 of the 5 reserves who logged minutes are not on the roster.

But even after the Lakers turned over their roster and even after the vitality inside the locker room flipped fully round, one factor hasn’t modified.

The Lakers nonetheless aren’t at .500.

After successful three consecutive video games, the Lakers missed out on an opportunity Sunday night time to maneuver right into a tie for sixth place within the Western Conference, dropping to the New York Knicks 112-108.

They’re now two video games beneath .500 with 14 left to play, the loss dropping the Lakers (33-35) right into a four-way tie for ninth place within the West.

“We have time, but we can’t waste any more time,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham stated. “We can’t waste any more games.”

D’Angelo Russell, whose big fourth quarter Friday closed out Toronto, stayed scorching Sunday, making 13 of 19 for a season-high 33 factors, however he was outdueled by his former teammate Julius Randle.

Randle scored 33 on 11 of 24 from the sector and eight of 11 from the road, his aggression setting the tone for the Knicks (40-30), who had been with out Jalen Brunson.

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And within the fourth quarter, R.J. Barrett’s willpower to the basket gave the Lakers issues, his layup with 2:34 left placing the Knicks up 10.

Lakers guard De’Angelo Russell tugs at his jersey with two fingers after making a three-pointer towards the Knicks throughout the first half Sunday night at Arena.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The Lakers got here again to make it a one-possession sport within the last 20 seconds, however the group couldn’t get to a Knicks participant to foul, letting 14 seconds rip off the clock.

Another former Laker, Josh Hart, made each free throws to ice the sport.

Anthony Davis scored solely 17 factors, however he grabbed 16 rebounds.

“I played terrible,” Davis stated. “Couldn’t find my shot: free throws, layups, everything. The guys did their job. I didn’t do my job tonight.”

Postgame, Ham stated he thought a mixture of missed pictures, premature errors on the defensive glass and the Knicks’ physicality had been the massive components within the Lakers’ three-game successful streak ending.

“It’s basketball,” Austin Reaves stated. “… Overall, I thought we competed well. Had a chance, but didn’t have enough. You win some, you lose some.”

LeBron James returned to the Lakers’ bench after lacking the final two video games whereas excused for medical causes. Sunday, he was not carrying the protecting strolling boot on his injured proper foot.

“Everything is going according to plan,” Ham stated of James’ restoration.

Last week, James posted a video from an unknown distant location, joking in regards to the paparazzi following him as a wild animal roamed previous.

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“I’ve lived through this with [Kobe Bryant] and Giannis [Antetokounmpo], these guys have a variety of ways, when you’re at that level, you have a variety of ways you can treat different injuries. And it’s also good for him to unplug a little bit. Not be detached necessarily, but just mentally get a little bit of a calming to everything that’s transpired over the year,” Ham stated. “… It’s been a lot. So it’s not just about him getting healthy, it’s about him being in a good place mentally and spiritually so we get the best version of him when he returns.”

Until then, the Lakers are nonetheless very a lot in a battle even after briefly discovering themselves within the top10 within the convention.

Problems emerged Sunday — missed pictures, uneven chemistry, inconsistent physicality.

None of it adjustments the momentum the Lakers constructed at dwelling throughout this stretch, a number of Lakers stated.

“If we compete and stick to who we are as a team, we’ll be fine,” Reaves stated.