June 21, 2021

Night without Kobe ends badly

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson And it came one day after Lakers coach Phil Jackson stressed to his team at practice that they weren’t going to lose any more games at the line. The Lakers missed 3 of 6 free throws at the end of regulation in Wednesday’s overtime loss to Memphis. “You can get hypnotists to work with guys and you can get soothsayers or voodoo or something,” Jackson said. “But clearly it’s a matter of confidence and going out there and just settling in and doing the job you have to do as a professional player.” The Lakers (15-15) not only must deal with their longest losing streak of the season, but also with a woeful 6-8 record this season at Staples Center. The play of the game came with 25.9 seconds remaining and the Lakers searching for a tying basket. Brian Cook tried to use a back pick and cut to the basket off an inbounds play. Luke Walton, who started in Bryant’s place, thought he spotted an opening and rifled the ball inside to Cook. But Utah center Jarron Collins got a hand in front to knock away the pass and deny the Lakers. On any other night, Bryant almost certainly would have found the ball in his hands. “Luke, with his instincts, he thought he saw something,” Cook said. “We can’t really fault one person. We just didn’t execute.” Keith McLeod wound up with the ball and sank both free throws to put the Jazz in front 96-92. McLeod also scored a critical basket with 1:17 left as Smush Parker and Devean George lost track of him off a screen inside. It might not have come to that had the Lakers hit their foul shots. Walton missed both free throws during one trip to the line in the fourth quarter. George missed the second of two foul shots twice in the last 3:12. Bryant was suspended for an elbow he delivered to Memphis guard Mike Miller’s chin in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s loss. He wasn’t allowed to attend Sunday’s game, though Odom said he planned on talking to Bryant by phone afterward. The Lakers are now 6-11 playing without Bryant the past two seasons. They were down Sunday to just 11 available players, three of whom are rookies, with Bryant suspended. Without Bryant, the Lakers had 32.7 points and 26.3 shots to account for. Jackson described his starters as “licking their chops” at those numbers. The only question was who would step into the void and what kind of shots would be there for the taking. Cook, who was so sick he sat out Wednesday’s game, hit his first eight shots and finished with 19 points. Odom totaled 18 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists and George added 15 points as five players finished in double figures. “It has to do with taking good shots and understanding how to run the offense to get the good shots and the execution part,” Jackson said. “Having Kobe around is a bailout. We had a couple of things on and the execution wasn’t there.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LOS ANGELES – Somewhere at home in Newport Beach, watching the Lakers lose 98-94 to the Utah Jazz on Sunday night, Kobe Bryant must have wanted to throw an elbow at the television. With Bryant serving the first of a two-game suspension, the Lakers fell back to .500 for the first time since Dec. 10, losing their fourth straight game amid a hail of missed free throws and bad decisions down the stretch. center_img They will be without Bryant again Tuesday night as they play the Jazz in Salt Lake City, the second game of a home-and-home set. The Lakers have lost their last four games by a combined 13 points. It would have taken a perfect game to win without Bryant. Instead, the Lakers picked a bad night for one of their worst free-throw shooting games (15-for-25) of the season. They missed 5 of 8 foul shots in the fourth quarter as the Jazz converted 12 of 12. last_img

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