Dennis Schroder barely missed a shot all game — one on the block, a 15-foot jumper and a corner three-point try. He had already made eight other field goals and all five of his free throws. But none of that mattered as he waited to attempt two more free throws, the final lead change in a wild game against the Sacramento Kings at stake.
“I mean, it’s still pressure,” Schroder said after the Lakers’ 136-134 win Saturday night at Golden 1 Center. “I would lie if [I said] it was no pressure because there’s three seconds on the clock. They don’t have [any] timeouts. … Tie game. Of course, you gotta make one. First one didn’t feel great.
“But made both of them.”
The Lakers, despite missing Anthony Davis, Lonnie Walker IV, Austin Reaves and Troy Brown Jr., somehow earned their fifth consecutive win.
That Schroder was able to draw a foul with the game on the line was a bit of a surprise. Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox, who was spectacular in the fourth quarter, cut Schroder off on a drive after the Kings denied the entry pass to LeBron James. Fox made contact, but the whistle was a surprise — even to Schroder.
“I mean, normally they don’t call fouls like that,” he said. “I mean, I got probably so many drives where they hip-check me and I don’t normally get the foul — too many times. But they called it there.”
Fox tweeted, “Thought we were supposed to let the players decide the game…” after the loss before deleting it.
“If you foul, you foul,” Schroder said with a laugh. “It’s unfortunate, because of course the game is on the line and it’s like for free throws to win the game. I understand that point for sure. But I mean, end of the day, you can’t foul — especially when you [are] in the bonus. He had a hell of a game, was hot, played great. For me, [Fox is] an All-Star with that team in fifth place. He’s doing a great job with that team.”
The call was confirmed as correct in the NBA’s report on the last two minutes of the game.
Even if those free throws didn’t fall, Schroder has been playing his best basketball of the season. He scored 27 points Saturday. During the Lakers’ five-game winning streak, he’s averaging 21.4 points and 3.8 assists and shooting 50.8% from the field and 53.6% from deep.
LeBron James to sit out one Monday game
James spent New Year’s Eve in Atlanta watching his favorite college football team, Ohio State, play in the College Football Playoff semifinals against Georgia, losing in the final seconds.
Graciously, James would move on to cheer for the Bulldogs when they play Texas Christian, right?
“No. No, I don’t care. I don’t care. Nah, I don’t care,” James said, still scarred from the Buckeyes’ 42-41 loss. “You saw what happened in the final four, right? I couldn’t care less who wins. I hope it’s a tie.”
After the moment of pettiness passed, James spoke about the challenges in trying to repeat as champion, something Georgia can do Monday night at SoFi Stadium.
“It’s all about obviously understanding that everybody is going to be gunning for you, everybody wants to knock the title off the defending champions, but the next year, it could be a new champion or it could be you. So you have to always just stay in the moment,” James said. “Understand that nobody is playing for last year. This is this year, and let’s see how we can be better. And I’ve had the opportunity of being able to repeat and also be knocked off after winning.
“So the second year is definitely always tougher, but at the end of the day, when you give yourself to the game, you give yourself to the process and you have a great team — which Georgia has — they put themselves in a position to win.”