The Los Angeles Lakers lost 120-118 to the Cleveland Cavaliers at Staples Center on Tuesday night.
“Turnovers have been our problem. We kind of cured that tonight. We did a better job of taking care of the basketball, but second-chance points is the second thing,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni started his post-game press conference. “In big moments, like when a game could turn, we just couldn’t rebound.”
The Lakers led 63-57 at the half. At that point, both teams had 18 rebounds, and second chance points were a non-factor. In that category, the Lakers had two points, and the Cavaliers had four points. The second half would be a different story.
In the third quarter alone, the Lakers were outscored 10-0 on second chance points. On the boards, the Lakers were out-rebounded 17-8. Not surprisingly, the Lakers had another bad third quarter that ultimately cost them the game.
The Lakers were outscored 31-22 in the third, and the six-point halftime lead transformed into a three-point deficit. Considering the Lakers only lost by two points, the poor re-start after the break, arguably, cost them the game.
Pinning the loss on the Cavs shooting 13-17 from behind the arc is the alternative argument, and it also makes a strong case. The Lakers shot twice as many 3-pointers as Cleveland, but both teams made the same amount.
Back to the third quarter, Nick Young, who had 16 points in the first half, sat on the bench and watched his team fall behind by 10 points over the first six minutes of the second half. Young usually sits on the bench to start the third quarter, but the Lakers’ consistent lack of energy out of the locker room has called into question the Lakers’ choice in personnel following the intermission.
After the game, Young was asked if he had considered telling the coach to start him in the second half.
“Sometimes, like today, a little bit, but coach is doing what he do [sic],” Young responded. “I don’t want to step on no toes. I’m just (going to) let him do his coaching job.”
Young finished the game with 28 points and led all scorers. After the game, he was asked about his thoughts on tanking the season and losing games to get into a higher position for the draft.
“It’s hard for me to just go out there and not care,” the former USC Trojan responded. “I wouldn’t be doing the things I do out there: swaggin, jumping around and getting hyped.”
He was “swaggin” out there. Yes, that’s a verb, and Young’s personality on the court is hard to deny.
Despite the second-chance points, 3-pointers and poor third quarter, Young had a chance to tie the game on a contested 3-pointer with nine seconds remaining. The shot didn’t fall, and the Lakers lost again.
With the loss, the Lakers have dropped five in a row and 11 of the last 12 games. There is no rest for the weary, as the Lakers kick off the seven-game Grammys road trip with a back-to-back Wednesday night in Phoenix.