Lakers’ Anthony Davis blamed for loss to Mavs

Dave McMenaminESPN Writer3 minute read

LOS ANGELES – Time and time again, sitting in front of his locker after the game, Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis repeated how difficult it was to endure Friday night’s 111-110 loss to the Los Angeles Mavericks. Dallas at the buzzer.

Difficult because his closing was not deterrent enough to prevent Mavs forward Maxi Kleber from coming out of the winning 3 with 0.2 seconds left. Tough because Kleber’s shot was preceded by Davis going 1 for 2 from the foul line with 6.7 seconds left, failing to give LA a three-point cushion that would have at least allowed Kleber’s shot to force extra time rather than winning it.

Tough because just before that with 7.2 seconds left, with the Lakers leading by four, Davis fouled Kleber on a 3-point attempt, and Kleber drained all three free throws to put Dallas back in one.

“I already walked in and told them the last game was my fault,” said Davis, who took responsibility for a two-time loss in the Lakers’ last four games, with the other loss coming. in Houston when he had to miss work with a persistent foot injury.

And tough, Davis said, because on a night when four other teams surrounding LA in the standings — Golden State, Minnesota, New Orleans and Portland — all lost, the Lakers failed to capitalize.

“It’s tough on every level,” Davis said after his 26 points and 10 rebounds were in vain.

Instead, all the momentum swung to the Mavs. Playing on the road without Luka Doncic and welcoming Kyrie Irving back to the roster after a three-game absence with right foot pain, the Mavs came in and took him.

The victory moved Dallas to No. 6 in the Western Conference at 36-35, and they won the season series against LA 2-1.

The Lakers are No. 10 in the West at 34-37, two full games behind Dallas with 11 games left, but it might as well be three games because the Mavs now own the tiebreaker.

As painful as a night for Davis, it was just as exciting for Kleber, who nearly cost the Mavs a game in San Antonio on Wednesday by throwing an inbound pass all over the field out of bounds with 1.8 seconds remaining in time. regulation, then blowing a mission to free Keldon Johnson for a lob to send him to OT.

Kleber said in an on-court interview after the game that Irving — who scored 38 points and got Kleber’s assist on the final shot — told him, “It’s redemption” for the near- debacle in San Antonio.

Wenyen Gabriel, who had nine points and 11 rebounds off the bench and helped erase a 14-point Dallas lead to help put LA in position for the win, offered equally uplifting support for Davis.

“I mean, AD is our leader,” Gabriel said of Davis putting the blame on his shoulders. “He’s our best player at the moment, and it just shows that taking responsibility as the best player. It’s something that’s important for continuity as a team and mutual trust, and obviously we’re doing trust in AD. It was just a moment. It’s obviously not just about AD, but the fact that he takes responsibility for this is something important instead of pointing fingers in terms of chemistry at the ‘coming.”

The Lakers host the Orlando Magic (28-42) on Sunday, the first of four more home games before leaving LA for four road games.

Time is running out for this Lakers team. The crowded West kept them, but Friday recalled other near misses, like when Davis missed late free throws in an overtime loss at Philadelphia or when he missed another free throw in the final. minute and Indiana won at the buzzer with a 3 at roughly the same spot on the floor that Kleber threw his.

The Lakers have dug themselves out of a hole since starting 2-10 out of the gates. Just when it looked like they had some breathing room, picking up six out of eight wins after the All-Star break, they’ve now lost three out of four and are falling back at the worst possible time.

“We miss our chances, that’s for sure. It’s frustrating,” Davis said.

But he added: “We are still able to do something special, with the way we started.”

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