The Lakers lost 143-142 in overtime to the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night at Staples Center.
Here are five takeaways from the game:
1) On Oct. 13, Johnathan Williams was waived by the Lakers, his dream of playing in the NBA seemingly shattered. On Oct. 20, the Lakers signed Williams to a two-way contract, his dream again alive.
Three days after he was asked back, the center was called on in the Lakers’ time of need against the Spurs. He did not disappoint.
Williams had eight points, four rebounds and three impressive blocked shots in nearly 14 minutes of play Monday.
He was used because the Lakers were short on bodies with starters Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo serving their suspensions and starting center JaVale McGee fouled out.
Williams said he just had one thing in mind when he entered the tight and tense game.
“Just go out there and have fun,” said Williams, a rookie out of Gonzaga. “It was my first time playing in a game. So it was just go out there and have fun and do what the coaches tell me to do and just try to play as hard as I can with the time they gave me.”
Williams entered the game with 3:19 left in the third quarter after backup center Ivica Zubac picked up his fifth foul.
Williams showed he was unafraid of the moment, taking a 15-foot jumper in his very first attempt. He missed the shot, but stuck to it, later cutting to the basket for a dunk.
He played 5:50 in the fourth quarter and 4:44 in the overtime after McGee fouled out.
The 6-9 Williams, who really is a forward, had all three of his blocks in the overtime, each more meaningful than the last.
He said he just kept reminding himself on how to handle the situation.
“Stay in the moment,” Williams said. “Just stay in the moment. Just stay locked in during the game. Just always stayed locked in when I’m on the bench.”
2) The loss of Rondo and Ingram because of their roles in Saturday night’s fight left the Lakers shorthanded.
That led to Lakers coach Luke Walton at one point using a funky lineup of Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, Williams, Lance Stephenson and rookie Svi Mykhailiuk in the third quarter.
That group kept the Lakers close, actually tying the score at 96-96 on a three-pointer by Hart before the Spurs took a 99-96 lead on a three-pointer by Patty Mills.
3) For the first time in three games, the Lakers outrebounded an opponent. The Lakers had 52 rebounds to San Antonio’s 47.
Hart, a 6-5 guard, led the Lakers with 10 rebounds. LeBron James, Kuzma and McGee each had eight. Lonzo Ball, a 6-6 guard, had six.
4) Free-throw shooting was another big issue for the Lakers.
Even though they were upset with the disparity between the free throws shot — the Spurs took 38, making 28 (73.7%), and the Lakers took 28 — the Lakers didn’t make the ones they should have.
The Lakers were just 18 for 26 (69.2%) from the free-throw line.
The biggest misses came when James couldn’t make two attempts with 12.8 seconds left in the overtime and the Lakers leading by one point.
5) The Lakers showed some improvement from long range, making 35.9% of their three-point shots.
Kuzma (four of 10), Hart (four of seven) and Ball (three of seven) were mostly on point. James (two of eight) was off target.