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FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Heat – Game 38

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (17-21) | Miami Heat (20-19)

 

The Lake Show, without LeBron James or Anthony Davis, managed to get a massive win over the Miami Heat 112-109

 

Lakers vs Heat
Photo Credit: Adam Pantozzi/NBAE/Getty Images

Darvin Ham told reporters that Russell Westbrook was dealing with foot soreness against Charlotte, so the staff decided to shut him down at halftime. However, it must’ve been purely precautionary, as Westbrook was available vs. Miami.

LeBron James (non-COVID illness) and Lonnie Walker IV (left knee soreness) were inactive for the game vs. Miami. Ham told reporters, “Just under the weather. Just the common cold, it sounds like,” regarding why James was out and that he wouldn’t be at the arena. Ham also told reporters that Walker IV recently began experiencing tendinitis in his knee and that the Lakers are “bringing him along slowly.” 

Since Anthony Davis went down, James has averaged 34.6 PPG, 59% FG%, 81% FT%, 7.4 RBS, and 7.0 ASTS. The Lakers went on a 5-5 record when James was on-court: +7, and off-court: -18.

In addition, Ham told reporters that AD had an MRI when they returned to LA and was on schedule. There was “nothing out of the ordinary,” but still no official timeline on his return yet, though. In response to their new inactives, the Lakers announced that they recalled Max Christie from the South Bay Lakers.

The Lakers’ starters vs. Miami were Dennis Schroder, Patrick Beverley, Austin Reaves, Juan Toscano-Anderson, and Thomas Bryant.

Beverley got the game started with a layup in the lane, which was compounded by Bryant, who went down the middle for a dunk. The beginning of this game was a bit overlapped by the preceding Bucks and Raptors game, but the Lakers were trailing the Heat already 12-9.

Unexpectedly and unfortunately, Kendrick Nunn looked to be in pain and exited briefly. Despite that, Nunn was back in the game in no time but blew a layup. He shut the haters up real quick, however, by draining a three.

Wenyen Gabriel finished off the first quarter with a corner three that beat the buzzer, putting the shorthanded Lakers up 32-23 on Miami. LA scrapped defensively to force five Miami turnovers.

Westbrook performed a beautiful crossover to get him an easy layup to give the Lake Show a convincing 37-25 lead. It was surprising, considering they were missing King James, AD, and Walker IV.

But of course, this is the NBA, and any team on any given night is bound to go on scoring runs. The Heat did just that, going on an 11-5 run to cut the Lake Show’s lead to 42-36 with 6:29 left in the first half. One of the more significant reasons why points were scored off turnovers, the Lakers were only losing the turnover battle 7-6 but were giving up more points off of them, as the Heat were ahead 10-5.

Coming out of a timeout, the Lake Show seemed to regain their swagger as Westbrook found a wide-open Bryant underneath for a two-handed flush. However, they were still struggling to take care of the ball, as Jimmy Butler acquired a steal, and that nearly led to an and-1 opportunity for Miami.

 

At halftime, the score read Lakers 52, Heat 48. LA didn’t close the half well, but they did hold on to the lead, holding Miami to 42.9% FGs with an additional 25% from three. Westbrook powered a bench push with 12 points, six assists, and five boards, but he also had seven of the team’s 12 turnovers.

 

Lakers vs Heat
Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

Entering the second half, it was revealed that Troy Brown Jr. was ruled out for the rest of the game with a left quad strain. It’s just another name added to our already long list of inactives. Brown Jr. totaled two points and four rebounds in 14 minutes of play.

Butler took over the third quarter, but the Lake Show was staying afloat, as they were tied with Miami at 68-68 with 4:50 remaining in the third. Westbrook retook the lead with a pull-up jumper inside the key after he shrugged off a defender. 

Westbrook kept the stove on as he diced up multiple Miami defenders for another layup inside. Nunn got in on the fun, draining a mid-range jumper. Beverley, scrappy as ever, got on the floor and battled with two Miami players to gain possession of the ball. At the end of the third quarter, the Lake Show was still ahead at 79-78. It was a difficult quarter for LA, but they managed to hold on to their lead. LA scored the final four points of the third.

Bryant sank an easy jumper from the charity stripe, and it was well needed, as the Lake Show suddenly found themselves down 89-85 with 7:22 left in regulation. However, Bryant would not be denied, as even though he was doubled, he rose above the defenders and threw it down to revive the energy in the Crypt.

In a turn of more unfortunate events, Schroder drove hard into the paint and stepped on Bam Adebayo’s foot, turning his ankle incorrectly. True misfortune for the Lake Show, as they were already down four players. However, Schroder remained in the game while making both of his free throws. He was running high on adrenaline as he drained a three in the corner to retake the lead at 92-90 with less than five minutes remaining.

The Lakers nearly botched a possession, as Westbrook was looking for a foul call and just threw up a shot at the rim, but Bryant was there to clean it up and converted the and-1 opportunity to take a five-point lead. Westbrook made up for his faulty play on the last possession by converting a layup through a foul.

Kyle Lowry pulled out his acting skills and drew a shooting foul on Austin Reaves, which earned him two free points. Schroder was fouled and had three chances at the line, but they were nullified as Butler had a free look for a three-pointer and drained it.

After Bryant and Victor Oladipo traded buckets, it was a three-point game in the Lake Show’s favor. That didn’t last long as Adebayo got the second chance points to fall as he outworked the Lakers on the glass. Schroder stayed aggressive, earning himself some free throws and keeping the Lake Show in front at 106-103 with just 39.5 seconds remaining.

A significant challenge here, as Oladipo drove right into Reaves, but the call was on Westbrook, who came in after Reaves fell and fouled Oladipo from behind. The refs let the initial play go, which should’ve been a charge on Oladipo. The Lakers won the challenge, but the refs only changed it from a foul on Westbrook to a blocking call on Reaves. The Lakers did still save a time-out.

Oladipo split the free throws, and Schroder, who took an elbow to the face and sprained his ankle, blew past Caleb Martin for a layup, giving LA a four-point lead with 20 seconds left. The Lake Show nearly threw the game away after giving up a wide-open three to Max Strus, which brought the game within one point, but free throws from Schroder effectively ended the game. The final score read, Lakers 112, Heat 109.

 

Key Takeaways

 

Lakers vs Heat
Photo Credit: Allen J. Schaben/LA Times

The Lakers won their third straight game, this time without James and Davis, to improve to 17-21. Schroder was the star in this one, totaling 32 points on 4-7 from three and four steals. Bryant was solid once more, finishing with 21 points on 9-11 FGs and nine rebounds. Westbrook also showed up massively with 21 points, eight rebounds, nine assists, and three steals.

Butler did what he could, ending with 27 points and three steals. Adebayo, with no AD, feasted, totaling 30 points, 13 rebounds, two steals, and three blocks. No other Miami player made a significant impact. 

The Lake Show won this game despite losing the rebound battle 43-42, and they gave up 14 offensive rebounds. The Lakers coughed up 17 turnovers, and that gave the Heat 23 points off of them.

Ham reportedly told Schroder that he would take him out of the game because of his ankle, but Schroder wanted to stay in. Ham then said, “alright, then you better be good,” and Schroder responded, “I’m not gonna be good; I’m gonna be great.”

 

The Lakers will now take on the Atlanta Hawks. They’ll face off on Friday, January 6th, at 7:30 p.m. PT at the Crypto.com Arena. The game will be available on Bally Sports Southeast and Spectrum SportsNet.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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