In less than 24 hours the Los Angeles Lakers (14-20) were preparing to tip-off against another Florida team, with the (17-17) Miami Heat. The Lakers were coming off of a dominant victory against the Orlando Magic winning 129-110. As for the Heat, they were coming off of a tight contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves winning 113-110 without Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. To say the least, both teams were seeking to get on a win streak of some sorts in hopes to get their respective seasons back on track.
The Lakers essentially had everyone active for tonight’s game except for Anthony Davis who has been listed out for at least a month with a stress fracture in his right foot. As for the Heat, they were without Kyle Lowry (personal), Dewayne Dedmon (foot), and Ömer Yurtseven (ankle).
From the opening half of the game it appeared as if it was going to be a highly contested matchup with the lead changing 11 times. Furthermore, both teams were shooting at an efficient rate starting with the Lakers: 48.7% from the field and 36.8% from three while the Heat were shooting 47% from the field. There were many struggles for the Lakers but tonight’s match relied solely in the turnover department as they had 12 while the Heat only had 2. As a result the Heat were able to capitalize on LA’s turnovers amounting to a 9 point lead (61-52) heading into the second half. What really stood out in the first half was the performances of the teams’ star players with LeBron leading the way for his Lakers putting up 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists while Jimmy Butler for the Heat had 19 points.
Once again the Lakers had lost another third quarter as they allowed the Heat to go on a 21-11 scoring run which saw them amount to a lead as large as 22 points. From the third quarter on the Heat never looked back even when the final minutes of the game looked rough with both teams struggling offensively. During the final quarter of play, the Lakers were shooting 38% from the field and 33% from three while containing the Heat to 31% from the field and 37% from three. The Lakers were however, able to cut into the deficit to make it as little as 7 points with a three coming from Dennis Schröder but once again it was another comeback that fell short. The Heat were able to gather the strings of stops they needed with crucial turnovers coming from the Lakers to ice the game 112-98. Ultimately, the Lakers could accredit this loss to the fact that they had a total of 24 turnovers while the Heat only had 5 as a team.
In a quote gathered from Kyle Goon via twitter, LeBron expressed his frustrations regarding the Lakers losing seasons,
“I know as long as my mind stays in it, I can play at this level for a minute,” James said. “Now, that’s up to my mind … I’m a winner, and I want to win and give myself a chance to win and still compete for championships. That has always been my passion, that has always been my goal since I entered the league as an 18-year-old kid out of Akron, Ohio.
“And I know it takes steps to get there, but once you get there and know how to get there, playing basketball at this level just to be playing basketball is not in my DNA. It’s not in my DNA anymore.”
As the trade deadline draws closer, it’ll be interesting to see if any trade comes into fruition for the Lakers franchise in an effort to salvage LeBron’s 20th season.
LeBron finished the night with 27 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists with additional help coming from Russell Westbrook with 15 points, 8 assist, and 4 rebounds, Schröder with 15 points, Troy Brown Jr. with 14 points, and Thomas Bryant with 11 points and 8 rebounds.
Jimmy Butler led the way for his Heat team as he posted 27 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists while receiving extra help from his supporting cast: Bam Adebayo with 23 points and 14 rebounds, Tyler Herro with 18 points and 9 assists, Caleb Martin with 13 points, and Gabe Vincent with 12 points.
The Los Angeles Lakers (14-21) will continue on with their southeast road trip as they will face the (17-18) Atlanta Hawks who just lost to the Brooklyn Nets 108-107 without Trae Young. The Hawks are currently averaging 114.6 points per game while allowing 115.3 which ranks them with the latter half of the league. Heading into Friday’s matchup, the Hawks will have players in question for their lineups as Young, Clint Capela, and De’Andre Hunter are all listed as day-to-day. Both teams will be seeking a much needed win as the Lakers have now lost 5 of their last 6 games and keep slipping in their respective conference while the Hawks have dropped from the 6th seed to the 9th seed with this recent loss.
As for the South Florida team, the (18-17) Miami Heat will begin their 5 game road trip in the west coast starting Friday night, with the (22-12) Denver Nuggets. The Heat will look to possibly improve on their above .500 record as they have been unable to go at least two games over the mark this season. The Nuggets will prove to be a tall task for this Heat squad as they are ranked 2nd in the western conference while averaging 115.9 points per game (7th best offense) and allowing 113.8. The Nuggets will also have players potentially out of the lineup as their recent report had Bruce Brown (ankle), Aaron Gordon (shoulder), Collin Gillespie (lower leg), and Jeff Green unavailable to play in their recent loss to the Sacramento Kings.
For more News about the Miami Heat visit: www.miamiheat.com
For more News about the Los Angeles Lakers visit: www.lakers.com
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