LOS ANGELES — For the second straight recreation, the Los Angeles Lakers could not shut out a winnable recreation within the clutch. And for the second straight recreation, the Lakers have been left lamenting a foul they believed went uncalled that affected the end result.
After Sunday’s 113-112 loss to Philadelphia, Russell Westbrook claimed Sixers heart Joel Embiid grabbed his arm on LA’s final offensive possession when the Lakers guard was making an attempt a possible game-winning layup with 3 seconds remaining.
“I used to be attempting to get my hand up,” Westbrook defined afterwards. “I could not get my hand as much as shoot as a result of [Embiid] was grabbing it. But it is all good.”
Westbrook confirmed a small group of reporters a screenshot on his cellphone that appeared to point out Embiid’s left hand clutching Westbrook’s proper wrist because the 2017 league MVP started his assault dribble towards the basket.
The official field rating awarded Sixers ahead Georges Niang with a block on Westbrook’s shot try with 3.0 seconds remaining and Embiid a defensive rebound with 1.0 seconds left as he corralled the unfastened ball earlier than the buzzer to shut issues out.
Embiid disagreed with Westbrook’s take on the sequence.
“I do not suppose I fouled him,” Embiid mentioned. “Physical play on each side. You might have known as a foul on the opposite finish, too, on the bump. So, it goes each methods.”
Then, in typical Embiid trend, the Philadelphia large man gave his model of occasions with a little bit of a wink-wink.
“They have been pushing the ball in transition and he was in entrance of me and I simply waved everybody else off. I consider I’m an awesome defender, so I consider I can get a cease on anyone,” Embiid mentioned. “[Westbrook] was truly unfortunate as a result of he misplaced the ball after which from there, he type of had nothing else going.
“Yeah, I might say it was unfortunate.”
The loss, which was the Lakers’ third straight and got here on the heels of a defeat towards the Dallas Mavericks in double-overtime Thursday, dropped LA to 19-24, thirteenth within the 15-team Western Conference.
“It’s simply irritating,” LeBron James mentioned. “Getting in these positions and never with the ability to come out with the victory. … We’re enjoying good basketball. We’re simply not profitable video games.”
Lakers coach Darvin Ham defended each his resolution to not name timeout with 13.1 seconds remaining when Westbrook rebounded an Embiid miss on the defensive finish and the truth that Westbrook was the one to orchestrate the final possession as a substitute of James.
“Down one, you have bought one in all our greatest playmakers on the rim, one in all our greatest finishers on the rim, has the ball with Embiid standing in entrance of him,” Ham mentioned. “I’ll take that situation each day of the week and twice on Sunday.
“We simply bought to complete the play. That’s it. Make a tougher, stronger transfer to the rim. That’s it. It’s so simple as that. And it simply did not work out.”
Before the sport, with Anthony Davis (proper foot stress response), Patrick Beverley (non-COVID-19 sickness), Austin Reaves (left hamstring pressure) and Lonnie Walker IV (left knee tendinitis) all out, Ham mentioned that the one two automated selections for his closing lineup could be James and Westbrook.
Despite the end mirroring different late-game conditions that resulted in losses for the Lakers this season towards the Portland Trail Blazers and LA Clippers when the opposing workforce’s heart guarded Westbrook in crunch time and Westbrook didn’t capitalize, Ham doubled down on his assist of his level guard.
“Just being down one level and the ball is in Russell Westbrook’s hand, I’m comfy with that. I do not understand how a lot I can reiterate that. If it was Bron, it might be the identical factor,” Ham mentioned. . “It’s disappointing that we misplaced. And it is disappointing that we could not shut the sport out. But make no mistake about it, down one with the ball in Russ’ palms with Embiid standing in entrance of him, I’ve confidence in my participant . And that is not going to alter. We simply bought to make a greater play.”
The finish spoiled an in any other case splendid evening for Westbrook individually and the Lakers as a workforce. Westbrook had 20 factors, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, turning into the all-time chief in triple-doubles for a substitute by logging the fourth of his profession.
James scored 35 factors on 15-for-23 taking pictures, with 10 assists and eight rebounds, and moved his profession scoring whole previous 38,000 factors — turning into the youngest participant ever to achieve the mark and simply the second participant ever to do it after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time scoring chief with 38,387 factors.
“The neatest thing about this league is you get a possibility to redeem your self in a short time,” mentioned James, who was terse throughout his postgame remarks, nonetheless reeling from the loss. “You nonetheless get a possibility to be higher the following day.
“We bought one other one tomorrow and we bought to be able to play towards a younger, quick, energetic Houston Rockets workforce.”