Monty Williams knows some of his decisions in Wednesday’s night’s loss to the Lakers, in which his team gave up a 21-point third-quarter lead, were befuddling.
He’d like you to know this – if he had to do it all over again, there’s a good chance things would be different.
“Yes,” Williams said Friday after the team’s first practice since the painful defeat. “I’d do it differently in the third quarter (as well as the fourth), when it started to snowball. Any time you lose a game like that, hindsight is 15/20. You feel bad about everything you do.
“So, yes, I probably would do it differently.”
The Hornets built a 25-point first-half lead on the Lakers, a team playing the second night of a road-road back-to-back.
And New Orleans took a 93-75 lead into the fourth quarter. It appeared the Hornets were set to break a nine-game losing streak to Los Angeles.
That’s when Williams pulled forward Anthony Davis, sitting the rookie and former No. 1 overall pick. Everything went downhill from there as the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant took over and Los Angeles’ Dwight Howard abused the paint.
Bryant scored 18 of his game-high 42 points in the fourth quarter, including 13 of the Lakers’ final 16 points. Howard, meanwhile, grabbed eight rebounds, blocked three shots and scored three points.
“I don’t care what anyone says, I’m not putting Anthony on Dwight Howard in that situation,” Williams said. “In a pinch, I probably could have done it a couple of times, but hindsight is always a lot clearer. And when you have a lead, you don’t always expect to lose it the way we lose it. So yeah, I’m sure I probably would’ve done some things differently.”
The Hornets already were down a player with Jason Smith requiring surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Additionally, Austin Rivers left the game after breaking a bone in his right hand and didn’t return.
Afterwards, Williams said Davis was having some discomfort from his sprained left shoulder. That didn’t keep him from putting Davis back in the game with very little time left to stop the bleeding.
It didn’t work, though, and the Lakers pushed ahead for good, closing the game on a 20-0 run.
Wednesday was the second time in a week New Orleans had given up a late lead to a team playing in its second of back-to-back games. Orlando reeled off a 17-5 run to send the Hornets to defeat Monday night.
Ultimately, Williams holds himself accountable.
“Defensively, we had a number of breakdowns and that falls square on my shoulders,” the coach said. “When you have that many breakdowns in one quarter, that’s something that I have to take a look in the mirror and make sure I have guys in the right spots, and make sure they’re doing the right things.”