The Los Angeles Lakers just can’t seem to get out of their own way. They made some great moves at this year’s trade deadline in an attempt to bolster their playoff hopes, and they’ve played well as of late. But on Friday night, they lost to the Dallas Mavericks in brutal fashion.
With just seconds remaining in the game, Kyrie Irving got the ball, and the Lakers sent multiple defenders at him. But with time fleeting, he passed the ball across the court to Maxi Kleber, who nailed the game-winning three. After the game, Irving spoke about the play, noting that he saw Anthony Davis sag off of Kleber, allowing him to make the pass.
“It seemed like three of them were around me at the end of the game,” Irving said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “But I’m just grateful that I was able to have my head on the swivel. I thought about, for a split second, forcing that two up to tie the basketball game. But I saw Maxi open. I saw AD kind of helping a little too much. So, I tried to get it into his shot pocket, and I’m glad I got it to him with enough time to at least get the shot off. I could easily be sitting in this position with a loss. It was just that type of game. But I’m glad we were resilient. We got really lucky and fortunate at the end of regulation tonight, so I’m glad it worked out for us.”
Irving played extremely well against the Lakers in his return to action after missing three-straight games. The star point guard dropped 38 points, six rebounds, and six assists on 14-of-23 shooting from the field and 5-of-9 shooting from behind the three-point line.
As for Davis, his blunder on the final play took away from an otherwise solid game. The Lakers big man finished the night with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists on 9-of-14 shooting from the field.
Anthony Davis Discusses Final Play vs. Mavs
After the game, Davis also spoke about what was going through his head on the final possession of the game.
“With seven seconds, he [Irving] dribbled almost the whole clock out,” Davis said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “Me just reading him. Knowing that he’s probably going to take the last shot. He goes into his actual shooting motion and just comes down with it. He doesn’t shoot it. So, when he goes up [and] it kind of pulled me in. I was going for the rebound. Thought he was shooting it. He made a pass to Kleber. He makes the shot.”
Darvin Ham Beaks Down Final Play vs. Mavs
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham also spoke about the final play, explaining the team’s decision to double-team Irving.
“I mean, he got pretty much a line-drive pass over to [Maxi] Kleber,” Ham said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “He started torching us a little bit down the stretch, thus, our decision to start blitzing him and double-teaming him. We made it difficult. Tried to be as active as possible. He found an open guy, and we didn’t get there fast enough. But AD had a last-minute, outstretched contest. But it’s tough. It’s like Indiana all over again. But at the end of the day, NBA players are highly talented. An elite skill level.”