The Lakers were down three to the Spurs, 108-105, with just 15.9 seconds left in the game. Which brought up a decision: Do you go for three or get the quick two then foul on the inbound?
Most coaches obviously prefer the three, but with that much time on the clock will be good with a quick-hit wide-open layup for two. Put the points on the board.
Rajon Rondo went another direction:
Huh? With about 12 seconds left, there was plenty of time to play the foul game after a made layup.
Here is Rondo’s explanation, via Bill Oram of The Athletic:
“I thought I could probably suck somebody in but they did a great job of staying home. The layup would have gotten us one point closer, we’d still have to foul but we didn’t have any timeouts so maybe. I just made a split decision that I made and we didn’t get what we wanted.”
The Lakers didn’t lose to the Spurs because of this play alone. Lonzo Ball, who got the start over Rondo, played without the energy we had seen the previous three games he started and went 2-of-8 shooting. Josh Hard was 3-of-10 from the floor. The Lakers had plenty of mental lapses over the course of the game.
Rondo’s was just the most glaring and it came in crunch time. It summed up another game where the Lakers had moments but the other team executed better down the stretch and got the win. The bottom line is the Lakers are 2-4 to start the season and still have a lot of work to do.