March Madness arrived NBA-style Friday night at Crypto.com Arena.
For the Los Angeles Lakers, though, it meant an agonizing last-second loss in a frenzied finish.
What You Need To Know
- Maxi Klieber made a three-pointer as time expired to give the Dallas Mavericks a 111-110 victory over the Lakers in front of a disbelieving crowd
- The Lakers made only five three-point shots and were a subpar 19 of 31 from three-point range
- Star power was lacking a bit Friday with LeBron James (foot) and Luka Doncic (thigh) sidelined for the game
- Lakers reserve forward Wenyen Gabriel was all over the court with eight offensive rebounds
Maxi Klieber made a three-pointer as time expired to give the Dallas Mavericks a 111-110 victory over the Lakers in front of a disbelieving crowd.
It could prove to be as costly as it was shocking. The Lakers had a chance to move into eighth place in the oh-so-close Western Conference standings but instead fell to 10th.
Everything looked fine for them when Anthony Davis drilled a 15-footer for a five-point lead with 3:16 to play. But the Lakers wouldn’t make another basket the rest of the way.
Davis figured prominently down the stretch — but not for ways he’d want to remember.
He fouled Klieber on a three-point shot with 7.2 seconds left and the Lakers up four. Klieber, a 58% free-throw shooter, made all three attempts from the line.
Then Davis, after being fouled quickly by Dallas, missed one of two free throws with 6.7 seconds to play.
With the Lakers up two, Kyrie Irving took the ball out of bounds and nearly dribbled out the clock before finding Klieber for the last-second heave from 27 feet.
“He found the open man, and we didn’t get there fast enough,” said Lakers Coach Darvin Ham before referencing an eerily similar last-second loss earlier this season. “It was like Indiana all over again.”
A win would have been huge for the Lakers (34-37). Seemingly everyone around them in the standings lost earlier in the day — Minnesota, Golden State and New Orleans. The Lakers also could have pinned a loss on Dallas, who was only a game ahead of them in the standings.
Making matters more difficult, the Lakers also lost the head-to-head tiebreaker to the Mavericks, 3-1.
Davis scored 26 points and added 10 rebounds but Irving was the best player on the court. The Mavericks guard scored 38 points after missing the previous three games because of a foot injury.
“Still kind of processing it,” Davis said. “Tough loss.”
The Lakers made only five three-pointers and were outscored by 33 points from deep. The Lakers also struggled from the free-throw line, making a mere 19 of 31 for a poor 61.3%.
“We make our free throws, we’re probably not having this conversation,” Ham said afterward.
Star power was lacking a bit Friday with LeBron James (foot) and Luka Doncic (thigh) sidelined for the game.
The Lakers were close to making it a team victory. Six players scored in double figure, including Austin Reaves (16 points) and Dennis Schröder (15 points).
Lakers reserve forward Wenyen Gabriel was all over the court with eight offensive rebounds. Dallas had only seven as a team.
But in the end, the Lakers lost another game in a season quickly filling up with too many.
Perhaps Reaves said it best: “It sucks, to say the least.”