- The Los Angeles Lakers suffered a heartbreaking 112-108 defeat to the New York Knicks
- The defeat sent the Lakers to No. 11 in the Western Conference and out of the play-in tournament fixture
- Anthony Davis blamed himself for the defeat, he finished with 17 points, 16 rebounds but missed nearly half of his attempts from the field
The Los Angeles Lakers' three-game winning streak ended after losing to the New York Knicks 112-108.
The 2020 NBA Champions are now out of the play-in tournament picture in the chaotic Western Conference.
The team is still missing 20-year veteran LeBron James, who is nursing a foot injury. Anthony Davis was expected to carry the Lakers to victory but struggled in the fourth quarter.
The big man finished with 17 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block. He went 8-of-18 from the field. In their last game, against the Toronto Raptors, the 30-year-old scored just eight points.
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D'Angelo Russell also struggled in the fourth. He scored 31 of his season-high 33 points before the fourth quarter.
Dennis Schroder's cut the Knicks' lead to two with a layup with 19.3 seconds left. However, the hosts failed to foul afterward. They stopped the clock with five seconds, putting Josh Hart on the line. He sank both free throws to seal the game for the Knicks, per ESPN.
What Davis and Russell said
Davis was disappointed with his performance and blamed himself for the defeat.
"My play. I played terrible. Couldn't find my shot: free throws, layups, everything. The guys did their job. I didn't do my job tonight...I just missed a lot of shots," he said. "I don't think they did anything special. A lot of times one-on-one, they doubled a couple times. But I don't think it was anything that carried over from Toronto."
That defeat hurt Russell.
"That one hurt for us. I think we were battling, we tried to do everything we could. We couldn't get enough rebounds, no stops, didn't make enough shots. It just didn't go our way, I guess."
RJ Barrett and Julius Randle combined for 63 points for the Knicks, per CBS Sports. Darvin Ham's team dropped to the No. 11 spot in the Western Conference after the loss with a 33-35 record.
Four teams in the West have 33-35 records, but the Lakers are at the back of that list due to tie-breaking rules.
With 14 games remaining, the Lakers can't afford to lose any more games.
Shaquille O'Neal: Davis has fallen off
Sports Brief earlier reported on Lakers legend Shaquille O'Neal saying Davis has fallen off.
Davis played 40 and 36 games in the last two seasons. He's entering a point where he should be at the peak of his powers. However, his injury problems have disrupted his career.
“I don’t want to say this disrespectfully, but he has fell off. When you are a champion and you're a Laker, they expect you to play at a certain level."