Despite leading for nearly the entire contest, the Lakers let the opportunity slip through their fingers and lost by a score of 116-115. Lakers head coach Darvin Ham came forward to shoulder the blame following the collapse.
“That falls on me,” Ham said of L.A.’s lack of organization on offense down the stretch. “That falls on me. I’ll take responsibility for that.”
The team did not show up in the final frame of Monday’s game, hitting just 36.4 percent of its shots. With less than 10 minutes left to go in the game, the Lakers led 101-84. However, the Pacers managed to claw back and tie things up with 39.8 seconds left on the clock.
An Andrew Nembhard 3-pointer at the buzzer went in and gave the Pacers the win.
PACERS BEAT LAKERS AT THE BUZZER 😱😱😱 pic.twitter.com/AtujNp3Y2w
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 29, 2022
It was a major disappointment for a Lakers squad that has been trending in the right direction as of late. Even with the loss on Monday, the team has won five of its last seven games.
However, the road only gets tougher from here, and wins will be harder to come by. Surely, the last thing the Lakers want is for all the progress they’ve made in recent days to be wiped out by another long losing streak.
Now sitting at 7-12 on the season, the Lakers are going to have to dig deep to avoid sagging further in the standings. They’ll host the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, but things get a lot tougher after that.
On Friday, they’ll begin a six-game Eastern Conference road trip. Their first game will be against the Milwaukee Bucks, and they’ll also face playoff hopefuls like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors.
Their first game back in L.A. will be on Dec. 13 against the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics.
Depending on how the Lakers fair in the upcoming stretch of games, the team’s front office may determine whether or not to start making roster-altering trades.
If the Lakers lose games in bunches, Rob Pelinka and company may decide to pack things in and avoid mortgaging the team’s future.
However, if the Lakers can continue to play winning basketball for the most part and get back to .500, there will be greater pressure to add some real talent and give LeBron James and company another shot at a title.