Just a couple of weeks ago the Los Angeles Lakers went into Miami and dominated the Heat. Luke Walton’s team scored 131 points against the Heat’s vaunted defense in what was one of their best performances of the season.
Friday night’s contest was a much different one as the Heat edged out a 92-91 victory over the Lakers at Staples Center. The pace and style of the game was much different from their first meeting.
“They were tougher than we were tonight, which is really frustrating,” Walton said after the loss. Point guard Isaiah Thomas echoed that sentiment as well.
“I think they were the more physical team and we couldn’t play to our strengths. You could see they made adjustments,” Thomas said. “They wanted to be the more aggressive team on both ends, and for most of the game they were.”
The lack of pace was also a concern of Julius Randle, who had no explanation as to what went wrong for the Lakers.
“I don’t know why we weren’t really getting out. It was the complete opposite as far as style of play game from when we played in Miami,” Randle said. “They just got us out of how we play and slowed the pace down on us.”
Making things worse for the Lakers was the return of their turnover issues as they committed 20 on the night. “We just were careless. I don’t really know what it was,” Kyle Kuzma noted in the locker room.
Fellow rookie Lonzo Ball felt the same. “We had a lot of turnovers, which doesn’t help,” Ball noted. “Just careless mistakes that we shouldn’t be making.”
There were a number of reasons why the Lakers ultimately came up short, and the team seems to know exactly what they were. The important thing now is to work those issues out so they don’t affect the team the next time they take the floor.
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