Lakers, without key players, defeated Miami Heat

January 5, 2023

On Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers played their first game of 2023 at Crypto Arena against the Miami Heat.

The Lakers won 112-109 to improve to 17-21 despite being severely shorthanded due to the absence of three starters in LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Lonnie Walker IV.

Dennis Schroder got the game going with a nice opening layup against the larger Bam Adebayo and a corner three-pointer. However, as was to be expected, the smaller Lakers starting lineup struggled to defend the paint early, and the Heat went into the first timeout leading 12-9.

Austin Reaves, who received a rare start, helped the Lakers retake the lead with smooth layups after the timeout. The first time he played, Russell Westbrook also had an impact by passing the ball and finding his teammates.

Even Kendrick Nunn took part, making a 3-pointer late in the first. After an outstanding quarter, Wenyen Gabriel gave the Lakers a 32-23 lead with a 3-pointer to close the quarter.

Beginning the second quarter, Westbrook extended L by contributing from long range with a pair of triples from the right wing. A. leads by a significant margin. Darvin Ham was forced to call a timeout when the Heat quickly went on a 7-0 run in response.

Despite having 12 turnovers in the first half and shooting less effectively from beyond the arc, the Lakers still led 52-48 at the break.

Before Schroder’s subsequent 3-pointer, Miami scored four points in a row to tie the score to open the second half. Third-quarter momentum was regained by Jimmy Butler., breaking out for six straight points to force another Laker timeout after a quiet first half. Additionally, Butler made plays for his teammates, connecting with Adebayo for a three-point play that gave the Heat the advantage.

Due to unfortunate circumstances, Troy Brown Jr. had to sit out the Lakers’ second half. He added a left quad strain to their long list of injuries.

Most of the third quarter saw back-and-forth play between the teams. Nunn’s midrange jumper at the end of the third gave the Lakers a 79-78 advantage going into the fourth.

Before Juan Toscano-Anderson’s reverse layup to start the fourth quarter, the Heat scored five points in a row. Thomas Bryant joined the fun with a reverse slam dunk to cut the Lakers’ deficit to two.

  1. A. fought on and took the lead back just under the five-minute mark when Schroder sank another three shortly after twisting his ankle. The advantage was then increased to five points by Bryant’s three-point play.

Bryant, Westbrook, and Schroder made huge baskets down the stretch, and the Heat was still powerless to stop them. With 20 seconds left, Schroder made a layup to give the Lakers a four-point lead after Butler and Adebayo had contributed to keeping it close.

Westbrook made a layup after Adebayo’s putback dunk brought the score back to two. The lead was four after he was fouled but failed to convert the free throw. After Schroder made two free throws, Miami still had a chance thanks to Max Strus’ 3-pointer. Butler’s shot was off at the last second, but the Lakers won handily.