Lakers Lose to Sixers at the Buzzer

Phil Jackson knows what he's talking about.

The Lakers' veteran head coach mentioned after his team's Sunday win over the Mavericks that L.A. had "perhaps a better killer instinct earlier in the year" and had "played around with teams at times." The players downplayed those comments at practice Monday, but apparently, they should have paid closer attention. Because the Lakers had the Sixers down 14 points in the fourth quarter on Tuesday, before allowing them to come all the way back to win on a three-pointer from Andre Iguodala at the buzzer, by a score of 94-93 at Staples Center.

The game was tied at halftime, before the Lakers came out strong in the third quarter. L.A. held Philly to just 12 points in the period and took an 11-point lead into the fourth. And when Jordan Farmar hit a three-pointer to extend the lead to 14 on the first possession of the final quarter, it appeared that the Lakers would cruise to victory -- but they didn't.

Over the next five minutes of the game, the Sixers went on a very quick 19-4 run to take the lead at 81-80. They scored the next five points of the game as well, extending to a six-point lead much the same way that Dallas had done against the Lakers on Sunday. But the Lakers' comeback on Tuesday simply wasn't as fierce.

L.A. did manage to get the lead back with just over two and a half to play, but it was back and forth from then on. Kobe Bryant, as he's done so many times before, hit a long two-pointer with six seconds left that would have been the game-winner, if only the Lakers had defended better on the final possession.

The ball was inbounded to the Sixers' Iguodala, who was covered one on one at the top of the circle by Trevor Ariza. Ariza was low in his stance and a step off of Iguodala, which might not have been the best choice, since the Lakers were leading by two and only a three-point shot would be able to beat them. But instead of overplaying Iguodala and forcing him into the paint where there's plenty of help, Ariza allowed him to raise up and drain the game-winner with barely a hand in his face. Since Ariza was playing him for the drive, he was too low to be able to jump to contest the shot, and he stood there flat-footed as Iguodala got his team out of there with the victory.

With the Cavaliers winning at home on Tuesday over the Magic, they now lead the Lakers by a game in the standings for the league's best record and home court advantage should the two meet down the road in the Finals. The only way that L.A. will be able to win enough games down the stretch to overtake them is by doing something they haven't done much of recently: listen to their coach, and put away teams when they have the chance.

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