The Los Angeles Lakers suffered a disappointing 111-108 loss in Game 5, their first of the postseason while wearing the Black Mamba City Edition uniforms.
The Miami Heat played a remarkable game, led by Jimmy Butler, the hot shooting of Duncan Robinson, and the defensive presence of Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala. The Lakers did not originally plan to wear their Black Mamba jersey on Friday, with Games 2 and 7 designated ahead of time.
However, with a chance to close the series out, L.A. decided to switch things up, hoping to win it all in the jerseys that gave them a 4-0 record during the postseason. It also would have been another layer to their remembering Kobe Bryant.
Crowder said the Lakers making that decision and the attention it received help provide extra motivation for the Heat, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
“You’re hearing how they’re putting the black jerseys on and sh– and how they haven’t lost a game in those and people start talking about that. That is motivation, and it’s always going to get under your skin a little bit,” Heat forward Jae Crowder told Yahoo Sports after Miami spoiled L.A.’s celebration plans with a 111-108 victory. “You obviously funnel that in the right direction and use it as motivation and it definitely helped tonight.”
On top of the Lakers making a change to the jersey they had been undefeated in, Anthony Davis took the court in an all gold pair of the Nike Kobe 5 protro.
It was almost predictable that the Heat would take it as an insult that L.A. chose to wear the Black Mamba uniform. All season, Miami has been known as the gritty, hard working team that feels disrespected by a majority of non-Heat fans.
Caruso worried about Lakers lack of energy to start games
One thing that the Heat have proven throughout the postseason is that they never take a second off, always playing their hardest basketball. Conversely, the Lakers have been known to get off to slow starts, something that Alex Caruso is wary of moving forward.
“Miami plays their brand of basketball really well. They’ve come out and been the aggressor for tonight for sure and in Game 3,” he said.
“They won those games, so maybe that’s a high point for us is to make sure we play better for the full 12 minutes in the first quarter. Make sure the starting group does their job in the pinch guys come in and do our job.”
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