For the second consecutive game in eight days against the Orlando Magic, the Los Angeles Lakers held a first-quarter lead but ultimately fell short. A 108-104 loss at Staples Center on Sunday snapped a three-game winning streak.
As Nikola Vucevic had another 30-point performance, the Lakers missed 11 free throws and committed 18 turnovers. While the Lakers were able to tie it up after trailing by 12 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope could not make the go-ahead 3-pointer.
We’ve got to get back to valuing the basketball,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton said. “I thought we played really well in the first and fourth quarters, thought we played well enough in the first half to have a good-size lead. They had 10 or 11 more shot attempts than we did and we had 14 turnovers at the half.
“Just not enough sharpness with the offense. We’ve got to get our passing up again. The less we’re passing the ball, the more we’re turning it over. It shouldn’t be the case. We’ll have to continue to clean that up as we move on.”
While the Lakers have won seven out of their last nine games, there is still plenty of room for improvement. Through 18 games, the Lakers are the sixth-worst team in both free-throw shooting (72.2 percent) and turnovers (15.8).
“Turnovers and missed free throws, we’re killing ourselves,” Walton added. “We play hard enough and we play well enough, we didn’t tonight for the majority of the game, but this is a couple games in a row now. You lose a close game, you miss 11 free throws, those are free points. We’ve got to step up and knock those down.
“We have 18 turnovers, they shoot an extra 14 times than we do in a game. Even though we’re making our shots and shooting a high percentage, it’s tough to overcome when another team gets that many more shot attempts than you do. We’re doing some things well. There’s been some slippage, obviously. We’ll keep working on it.”
Despite eight new players, the Lakers have been competitive in most games, which is a positive as they learn how to play together. With a one-game road trip against the Denver Nuggets, the Lakers will need to quickly clean up two areas they can control.
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