Just a few days ago, many criticized the choice made by the Lakers organization to rest Anthony Davis in a (somewhat) pivotal game against the Houston Rockets.
The possible negative implications of the resulting loss were just too big, especially given the following matchup with the Dallas Mavericks and the uncertain outcome of such a game, even with AD back in the lineup.
That Lakers decision has just become more damaging.
As a matter of fact, LA lost to Dallas for the team’s second consecutive loss that set it once more in a precarious position in the Western Conference standing. The Lakers went from having increasing chances to reach the sixth seed and avoid the play-in before the Rockets game to barely hanging on the tenth seed with a 34-37 record.
And the Lakers’ main focus has now turned to staying in the play-in rather than avoiding it. Contrary to the expectation of regretting the decision to rest Davis in the Rockets game further into the season, the purple and gold might already be doing that now. With a win against the Mavs, that game would have looked like an annoying setback in the hunt for a safe playoff spot.
Now, it feels like a big lost opportunity to consolidate themselves in the playoff conversation and is a blow to their hopes of finishing with a positive record. With the unlikelihood of LeBron James returning in the near future, reaching and getting over .500 looks like a distant mirage more than ever.
LA went from being one of the hottest teams in the league after the trade deadline, despite the loss of James, to a current 5-5 record in the last 10 games, courtesy of another unlikely loss at the hands of a depleted New York Knicks team on its second night of a back-to-back on the road.
Davis already took the blame for his poor performance against the Knicks, and he did so as well for the last game. With a four-point lead and seven seconds left, he fouled Maxi Kleber on a three-point attempt and subsequently missed one of two free throws that would have given the Lakers a three-point advantage.
Maybe Darvin Ham should have rested Anthony Davis in that final minute.