SAN ANTONIO – With Los Angeles Lakers who beat San Antonio Spurs by 15.9 seconds left, Rajon Rondo had a clear path to the basket but chose to give up an open layup hoping to find a 3-point shooter for the tie.
Passed by LeBron James for sixth on the scoreboard, Dirk Nowitzki said he believes LeBron can “pass Kareem” as the best ever score “if he keeps this up.”
Rajon Rondo returned from his three-game suspension Saturday night, but Lonzo Ball continued to start for Lakers on duty.
San Antonio defending bitter not and LeBron James could not beat a controversial, overtime 3-pointer for the second time in a week against Spurs. San Antonio won another nail over the Lakers 110-106 on Saturday at AT & T Center.
After Lakers (2-4) had their two-player win bet, Rondo and Lakers explained what happened when they were down three with a chance to cut the lead to one and foul or tie the game.
“We had no more timeouts,” Rondo said. “I know I could probably suck someone in [on the Spurs’ defense off the Lakers’ 3-point shooters] but they did a good job of staying at home. The layup would have gotten us a point closer. We would still need to be ugly, but we did not have any timeouts, so maybe … I only made a split decision and we did not get what we wanted. “
The Lakers thought they made a comma in San Antonio after heading at 11 at 2:32 in the third quarter. They fell behind eight at 1:34 in fourth, but scored seven straight points.
After DeMar DeRozan (30 points) scored points to drive the San Antonio lead to 108-105, James met a wide-open cut Rondo. Rondo, who just returned from a trespass tension for his role in a match with Chris Paul and Houston Rockets a week ago, then chose to put down a layup. When he went to pull the basket out of the color, he almost lost the ball before sending it to Josh Hart. Hart, covered by DeRozan, immediately gave food to James, who missed a controversial 3.
Hart could draw a crime while he crashed the glass and he made the first free throw before saying he intentionally missed the other.
James took an inadvertent elbow from Pau Gasol to the neck when they went for the rebound.
James, who poured 35 points and 11 rebounds, saw what Rondo was trying to do.
“I was looking for a 3 and then open open, and I put the ball in my hands to make a game,” said James. “And sometimes when you drive it, you’re craving for the defense and they’re starting to shrink and you can get a 3, and that’s what “thought and tried to get Josh Hart one. But they stayed home and got it back to me, and I took one missing.”
Lakers coach Luke Walton said the plan was to get James to switch to a minor defender for a potential 3-point shot. If it were not there, the Lakers would go for a “quick two and play the ugly game.” But the main coach made it clear that he trusted Rondo’s judgment.
“We were down three,” said Walton. “I think he was raining, let’s try to tie this stuff. Of course, he knows what he’s doing out there, but that’s his conversation.”
“[Rondo] knows what he’s doing out there, I trust his opinion,” added Walton. “A lot of time when a defense breaks down, someone gets open. It did not work for us this time, but it was good.”