Los Angeles Lakers falter late again; Luke Walton cites frustration

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MINNEAPOLIS — After falling 124-120 to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday to shut out a street journey Zero-2, Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton admitted that his crew’s early-season doldrums are taking a toll.

“There’s clearly frustration that comes with it,” Walton mentioned after the Lakers failed to guard a fourth-quarter lead and dropped to 2-5 on the season. “I do not know what the extent [of frustration] is, however it’ll be a tricky flight dwelling.

“However like I informed our guys, no person feels sorry for us. It is as much as us to determine it out and begin successful a few of these shut video games. And we are going to. I can promise you that. We are going to begin to win a few of these. However proper now we’re taking a pair lumps within the meantime.”

L.A. is Zero-Three in video games determined by 5 or fewer factors after going 11-11 in such contests final season earlier than touchdown the largest prize of the NBA offseason in LeBron James. On Monday, the four-time MVP led the Lakers in factors (29), rebounds (10) and assists (7) but in addition had a team-high 5 turnovers, together with one with 1 minute, 43 seconds remaining, when he misplaced management of his dribble and L.A. was referred to as for a backcourt violation.

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James echoed Walton’s disappointment.

“Properly, we received to get higher,” he mentioned. “We all know that. We discuss persistence, however we won’t have [a] reoccurrence of the identical factor. … Doing the identical factor time and again and over and anticipating a distinct consequence, you understand, that is madness. So now we have to get higher. We won’t simply have the identical errors time and again.”

Towards the Wolves, these errors got here within the type of fouling (the Lakers have been whistled for 24 fouls to Minnesota’s 14, resulting in a 30-15 disparity in free throws tried) and in failing to crash the glass (L.A. allowed 20 offensive rebounds and was out-boarded 51-48 total).

“I imply, it is the identical story,” Walton mentioned. “We received to get higher on the little issues, and a kind of issues is taking note of particulars, following recreation plans. The sport plan tonight: hold them off the free throw line and defensive rebounding. They usually damage us with each of these.”

The Lakers additionally had 18 turnovers, which led to 17 factors for the Wolves, one thing Rajon Rondo attributed to his crew overthinking issues.

“We’re simply not making the fitting performs on the proper time,” mentioned Rondo, as his crew was outscored 21-15 in fast-break factors partially due to its poor decision-making when it had numbers. “I feel we’re attempting to hit dwelling runs once we simply have to make singles.”

L.A. additionally trotted out its fourth beginning lineup in seven video games, resulting in rotations that did not all the time circulation easily.

“No matter position or no matter guys are available, we simply must be able to go,” Rondo mentioned. “As a crew, collectively, we’re not doing issues, we’re not on the identical web page. We’re messing up pick-and-roll protection. We’re messing up boxout assignments. So we received to do the intangibles and are available with a greater mindset.”

Rondo had 13 factors on 6-for-9 capturing and eight assists backing up Lonzo Ball, who struggled for the second straight recreation with simply 4 factors on 2-for-6 capturing and one help. L.A. was outscored by 11 factors with Ball on the court docket Monday and has now been outscored by 44 factors with Ball on the court docket this season, the worst plus-minus of any Lakers participant, in accordance with ESPN Stats & Data analysis.

“I am simply not doing my job,” Ball mentioned.

A part of James’ job with this younger group is to steer by instance as gamers attempt to discover their footing. He walked out of the locker room holding a duplicate of the ebook “Management: In Turbulent Instances” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, the identical ebook Lakers common supervisor Rob Pelinka was studying throughout coaching camp.

Earlier than that, James was requested what his management seems like when his persistence wanes.

“You most likely do not wish to be round when my persistence runs out,” James mentioned. “I am severe.”

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