LA earns hard-fought victory over hot Heat team

With LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Lonnie Walker IV, their three leading scorers, all out versus the Miami Heat on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers looked ripe for a rough defeat.

But in a grind-it-out affair, the type the Heat prefer and the Lakers don’t, the Purple and Gold outhustled and outsmarted Miami to earn a thrilling 112-109 victory.

The Lakers now have a three-game winning streak and have won four of their last five contests. The fact that this victory came against a team that had won nine of its last 13 makes it all the more impressive.

With a large number of home contests this month, LA has a prime opportunity to string together wins and finally get over .500, even without Davis.

Juan Toscano-Anderson: B

Toscano-Anderson only took two shots and scored just two points, but his hustle and energy were evident. His three rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot in 23 minutes made an impact that went beyond mere numbers.

Thomas Bryant A

Bryant’s effort on the boards, especially the offensive boards, was key, and although the Lakers got outrebounded by one, they got enough of an effort on the boards at important times to scratch out a victory.

The center finished with 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds while blocking a shot in 28 minutes. He has gone from a very nice offseason pickup to a player Los Angeles simply cannot do without.

Giving him a new contract to keep him in the fold this summer is something the team must find a way to do.

Patrick BeverleyB

Beverley had an off-night offensively, going just 2-of-5 overall and 0-of-2 from downtown, but he put forth some decent defensive effort, at one point blocking a long jump shot by Tyler Herro in the fourth quarter. He also dished off three assists and added one steal and one rebound.

Dennis Schroder: A+

Schroder was the man of the night for Los Angeles, scoring a season-high 32 points on 8-of-15 from the field, 4-of-7 from downtown and 12-of-14 from the free throw line. He came up big in crunch time, scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter.

He did all that despite getting whacked in the face with an elbow in the first half and turning his ankle in the fourth quarter. He is definitely a tough customer.

Defensively, he also had four steals. Schroder may not be as much of a pest as Beverley is, but he is very capable of playing some close-up defense on opposing ball handlers and making them uncomfortable.

Austin Reaves: C+/C

Reaves’ shot wasn’t falling tonight, as he went 0-of-4 from downtown and 3-of-11 overall. But he helped in other areas by getting five rebounds and three assists, and he made all five of his free throw attempts.

The undrafted wing has certainly become a multi-faceted role player who helps LA even when he is ineffective offensively.

Wenyen Gabriel: B+/A-

Gabriel had 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, and not all of them were easy baskets or near the rim. He also got four rebounds and emphatically blocked a shot in 20 minutes.

Troy Brown Jr.: B-/B

Brown played 14 minutes, as he was ruled out from returning in the third quarter due to a quad ailment. While he was on the court, he hit 1-of-2 from the field and contributed two points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal.

Russell WestbrookA-

Westbrook put up good numbers in the first half, but it was a ragged one for him, as he had seven turnovers.

However, he did an admirable job of cleaning up his game afterward, as he had zero turnovers in the second half. Overall, he was huge, scoring 21 points with eight rebounds, nine assists and three steals.

In crunch time, he had a number of big plays:

  • With 5:27 left in the fourth quarter, he stole a bad pass by Bam Adebayo and started a fast break, which led to him assisting on a 3-pointer by Schroder.

  • He found Bryant for a couple of buckets in the paint while scoring a key layup to get the Lakers ahead by two possessions.

  • Clinging to a two-point lead with seconds remaining, the Lakers inbounded the ball from midcourt. Sensing the Heat were a bit discombobulated defensively, Westbrook cut to the basket, and Reaves threw the inbound pass to him for a layup while he got fouled.

Kendrick NunnB

Nunn got 15 minutes tonight and went 4-of-9 overall and 1-of-3 from beyond the arc to score nine points to go along with three rebounds.

His playing time has been sporadic this season, but every now and then he flashes a reminder that he’s still a good player.

Max Christie: Incomplete

In seven minutes of spot duty, Christie missed his only two shot attempts (both of which were 3-pointers), but he did contribute one rebound and one assist.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *