Of all the close games this season that the Los Angeles Lakers let slip between their hands and turned into losses, Friday’s contest versus the Dallas Mavericks was arguably the worst, given what was at stake.
The Lakers had a chance to move up in the standings, not to mention tie Dallas in the season series and give themselves to possibly earn the tiebreaker by finishing with a better record against the Western Conference.
But they blew a four-point lead in the final seconds, largely because of two defensive mistakes by Anthony Davis. He first fouled Maxi Kleber while he attempted a 3-pointer, giving him three free points on foul shots. Then, with LA up by two, he left Kleber open, allowing him to take a pass from Kyrie Irving and nail the game-winning 3-pointer right before the buzzer.
After the game, Davis took responsibility for the setback.
“I already came in and told them the last play was my fault,” said Davis.
Davis sold out the Lakers’ previous game, which was a loss to the Houston Rockets. He has received lots of criticism for doing so, even though it was apparently a decision made by the team’s medical staff due to his right foot stress injury, and not one made by Davis himself.
He played up to his standards against Dallas with 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting, 10 rebounds, three assists and one blocked shot. Twelve of his points came in the fourth quarter, but that was overshadowed by what he did to cost his team the game.
The Lakers still have an outstanding chance to make the playoffs, either by winning the play-in tournament or finishing with the sixth seed. But like Friday’s loss and so many others this season, that opportunity could be slipping through their hands.
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Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire