Rajon Rondo’s offered for a tie fails as Lakers fall to Spurs
With the Los Angeles Lakers trailing the San Antonio Spurs by three with 15.9 seconds remaining, Rajon Rondo
had a clear path to the basket but opted to pass up an open layup in hopes of finding a 3-point shooter for the tie.
However, San Antonio’s defense didn’t bite, and LeBron James was unable to knock down a contested, overtime-forcing
3-pointer for the second time in a week against the Spurs. San Antonio won another nail-biter over the Lakers 110-106 on Saturday at AT&T Center.
After the Lakers (2-4) had their two-game win streak snapped, Rondo and the Lakers explained what happened when they
down three with a chance to cut the lead to one and foul or tie the game.
“We didn’t have any more timeouts,” Rondo said. “You know, I thought I could probably suck somebody in [on the Spurs’ defense
off the Lakers’ 3-point shooters], but they did a great job of staying home. The layup would have gotten us one point closer. We’d still
have to foul, but we didn’t have any timeouts, so maybe … I just made a split decision, and we didn’t get what we wanted.”
The Lakers thought they let one get away in San Antonio after leading by 11 with 2:32 remaining in the third quarter. They fell behind by
eight with 1:34 left in the fourth but scored seven straight points.
James hit a wide-open cutting Rondo
After DeMar DeRozan (30 points) scored to push the San Antonio lead to 108-105, James hit a wide-open cutting Rondo. Rondo, who had just returned from a three-game suspension for his role in a fight with Chris Paul and the Houston Rockets a week ago Saturday, then opted to turn down a layup. As he went to pull the basketball out of the paint, he nearly lost the ball before passing it to Josh Hart. Hart, covered by DeRozan, immediately fed James, who missed a contested 3.
Hart was able to draw a foul while crashing the glass, and he made the first free throw before saying he intentionally missed the second.
James took an inadvertent elbow from Pau Gasol to the neck as they went for the rebound. Gasol got the rebound and was fouled before making both free throws to seal the game.
James, who poured in 35 points and 11 rebounds, saw what Rondo was trying to do.
“I was searching for a 3 and after that ‘Do open up completely open, and I put the ball in his grasp to make a play,” James said. “Also, now and again when you drive it, you sort of disturb the safeguard, and they begin to contract in, and you’re ready to get a 3, and that is the thing that ‘Do was considering, endeavoring to get Josh Hart one. Be that as it may, they remained home and got it back to me, and I took one that missed.”
Exchanged onto a little safeguard
Lakers mentor Luke Walton said the arrangement was to get James exchanged onto a little safeguard for a potential 3-point shot. In the event that that wasn’t there, the Lakers would go for a “brisk two and play the foul diversion.” But the head mentor clarified that he confides in Rondo’s judgment.
“We were down three,” Walton said. “I think he was figuring, how about we endeavor to tie this thing up. So clearly, he realizes what he’s doing out there, yet that was his call.”
“[Rondo] recognizes what he’s doing out there, I trust his supposition,” Walton included. “A ton of time when a protection separates that way, someone gets open. It didn’t work out for us this time, yet it was fine.”