Lakers lose to Heat in Miami, drop 5 of last 6

Lakers looked fatigued as they had a season-high in turnovers.

I had mentioned this in the game preview:

“As for their play, the Lakers have to be careful about taking care of the ball. The Heat are third in forcing turnovers.”

The Lakers were listed at 24 turnovers, the most they’ve had in a game this season. And it was a main reason why the Lakers lost to the Miami Heat, 112-98.

Conveniently enough, Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Caleb Martin, and Gabe Vincent all played after being listed as questionable beforehand. Butler did his job in the first half and on defense (five steals). And when the Lakers attempted to make a comeback in the fourth quarter, Butler shut it down with a lay-up with a minute and a quarter left. Bam Adebayo did most of his damage in the third quarter (more on this later) and scored 10 of his 23 points in that period.

Lakers got beat majorly in a few categories. I mentioned that the Lakers had 24 giveaways. Well, Miami only had five the whole game. Heat scored 31 points off turnovers while the Lakers only got two. Heat also outscored the Lakers in the paint, 52-40. And until the fourth quarter, Miami dominated in second chance points. The margin there ended up being, 19-9.

And yes, those third quarter woes continued. The Heat led by 11 at halftime and it ballooned to as many as 22 in the third. Miami outscored the Lakers by 8 in that all-important third quarter and it’s just amazing how the Lakers seem to come out flat nearly every time after the halftime break is over.

The Lakers didn’t shoot badly (.481 from the field and .361 from three). But they needed more from Lonnie Walker IV and Austin Reaves, who had been reliable as sparks throughout this season. I scored as many as those two players combined: zero.

In the end, the team might have been fatigued and that’s why it led to such uneven play for the Lakers. LeBron James did end up playing and you could see how he was in fumes by the end. He had a 27-9-6 line. Russell Westbrook and Dennis Schröder each had 15. And if you want an encouraging sign for the Lakers, Troy Brown, Jr. had his second straight good game. He ended with four threes and a total of 14 points.

Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 27 points, five rebounds, four assists, and five steals. Bam Adebayo had a strong game with 23 points and 14 boards. Tyler Herro didn’t shoot well but he did score 18 points and dished out 9 assists.

You can call this a schedule loss if you want but the fact of the matter remains is that the Lakers are now 14-21. They’ll end the calendar year with a date with Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks on Friday. But for now, bye, Felicia.

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