Lakers G Rajon Rondo explains why he didn't take wide open layup late in loss to Spurs

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Rajon Rondo (Getty Images)

Rajon Rondo had a chance to cut the Lakers’ deficit to one with time winding down against the Spurs.

The 32-year-old guard had a clear path to the basket when he received a pass from LeBron James with Los Angeles trailing 108-105 and 12.9 seconds to play. But, instead of taking the easy basket, Rondo dribbled out of the paint and passed the ball to Josh Hart behind the 3-point line.

James ended up missing a contested 3-pointer to end the possession.

Rondo said he decided to pass up the open layup because the Lakers did not have any timeouts left.

“I thought I could probably suck somebody in (a defender), but they did a great job of staying home,” Rondo said (via ESPN). “The layup would have gotten us one point closer. We’d still have to foul, but we didn’t have any timeouts, so maybe … I just made a split decision, and we didn’t get what we wanted.”

Lakers coach Luke Walton said he trusts Rondo’s judgment on the court.

“I think he was figuring, ‘let’s try to tie this thing up,’” Walton said. “So obviously, he knows what he’s doing out there, but that was his call.

“A lot of time when a defense breaks down like that, somebody does get open. It didn’t work out for us this time, but it was fine.”

The Lakers ended up falling 110-106 to San Antonio, dropping their record to 2-4 this season.

James finished with a game-high 35 points in the loss. Rondo added 12 points and five assists in 29 minutes off the bench.