Lakers lack offensive consistency in loss to Timberwolves

Bruce Kluckhohn- USA Today Sports
Lakers can't come out on top in defensive battle against the No. 1 seed Timberwolves.

The Los Angeles Lakers battled from start to finish in Saturday’s 108-106 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, but a mixture of abysmal 3PT shooting and the inability of key role players being able to step up ruined a two-way masterclass performance by Anthony Davis. Even with the lack of shooting and guys like Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura failing to do much of anything, LeBron James had an game-tying 3-point attempt to tie the game and his foot was called being on the line which inevitably lost them the game. Despite the controversial ending, the Lakers defense played well enough to keep them in the game even when things weren’t going well on the offensive end.

Here are my three takeaways from the game:

Anthony Davis has been playing like one of the best big men in basketball recently but his jaw-dropping performances as of late have been wasted by subpar play from the rest of the Lakers. On Saturday Davis had 33 points, 17 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals, and 2 blocks while being guarded by Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner Rudy Gobert. In fact, the Lakers lost on Christmas to the Celtics in a game where Davis had 40 points and 13 rebounds.

The last time the Lakers went to Minnesota (just over a week ago on the 21st) Davis also showed out in a loss putting up 31, 8, and 4 in a 7 point loss to the Wolves. Besides Austin Reaves (who didn’t play well on Saturday), Rui Hachimura, and Taurean Prince, the Lakers have struggled to find role players to step up and alleviate pressure off of Davis. Add in that Davis has played 79 out of the last 83 games for the Lakers, there is no excuse for losing as much as they have been with a healthy AD. Considering the Lakers are just 17-16 at this point in the season, the organization should think of making a move before the trade deadline since that may end up being too late.

The Lakers shot just 29.4% from 3PT range on Saturday and that is part of the reason they couldn’t extend a few leads in the game when they had momentum. Austin Reaves has been great off of the bench in a 6th man role (he’s the favorite on a lot of sports-books for the 6th Man of the Year award right now) but he was atrocious on Saturday vs. the Wolves going just 2-11 from the floor and 0-5 from 3PT range.

Rui Hachimura (who was excellent in Thursday’s win vs. the Hornets) went 2-8 from the floor and 0-1 from 3, and D’Angelo Russell (who left the game to due to an injury on Saturday) went 1-4 from the floor and 0-1 from 3. Only Taurean Prince (3-6 from 3), Anthony Davis (1-2 from 3), and Christian Wood (2-2 from 3 in just 13 minutes) shot 50% or better from 3 and Prince has really been the only constant from beyond the arc this season. What remains evident is that the Lakers desperately need to improve their shooting before the deadline if they want any chance at winning a championship this season.

Though the Lakers played awful on offense the entire game, they still should have sent it to overtime with a LeBron James 3-pointer. The referees thought that James’ toe was on the line and Head Coach Darvin Ham challenged and the referees upheld the call. However, the replay that was shown on air clearly showed that James toe was behind the line and it should have been called a 3-pointer.

Because it was originally called a 2, perhaps the referees thought there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call, but it should have been deemed a 3 right away, not even allowing a challenge by Ham. James was furious after the game and rightfully so, and the Lakers were robbed of an opportunity to send the game to overtime.

The Lakers travel to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans on Sunday in the back end of a back-to-back. Can the offense get going and help the Lakers get back in the win column?

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x