The Los Angeles Lakers put up a good fight, but ultimately sputtered in the fourth quarter in the 110-104 loss to the Miami Heat on Thursday night.
Although the Lakers saw Andre Drummond return after missing time with a toe injury and newly-signed Ben McLemore make his debut, Kyle Kuzma was ruled out prior to the game due to a calf strain. Even more short-handed, Los Angeles did its best to keep pace with Miami for most of the night but could not get over the hump.
The team competed hard on the defensive end of the floor and even did a decent job from beyond the arc, but turnovers were what cost them the game as they committed 22 of them. Although the Heat turned the ball over 21 times themselves, the Lakers’ margin for error is much smaller without LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Dennis Schroder was the primary reason for L.A.’s turnover problem as he had a game-high seven turnovers. After the loss, Schroder credited the Miami defense but also admitted that he needed to make smarter decisions with the basketball.
“We did a lot of stupid decisions. On my side, turnovers. Me and the group, we just got to do better. I take that on me. I’m not taking care of the ball. But yeah, we’re going to be ready for the next game.”
Despite the turnovers, head coach Frank Vogel was pleased with Schroder’s play and the way he competed to keep the Lakers in the game despite being without so many key players.
“Great effort. He was playing his tail off, competing at a super high level,” Vogel said. “I think he’s leading our team with the mindset, I mentioned this about Kuz last week, but the mindset of playing to create for others. 14 assists, easily could’ve had 20 points and 14 assists, he had 10 because he missed a couple layups, he missed a couple good look threes, shots he normally makes.
“But he just competed his tail off and we had a stretch in the first half where Alex [Caruso] was pulled for a sore knee that they were evaluating, he’s fine, but we had to play Dennis almost the whole first half and he gave us everything he had.”
With James out, Schroder has been the primary initiator in the half court for the Lakers and that has often gotten him into trouble as he often times will try to force things when they are not there. Although Schroder had a season-high 14 assists against the Heat, the turnovers he committed were fairly careless and in a close game, that will often come back to bite teams.
He did admit postgame that he has been dealing with a knee issue, so that could have possibly had something to do with his play.
Schroder will obviously be asked less to run the offense when James returns, but turnovers have been the Achilles heel of this particular Lakers iteration. The team as a whole will need to clean that up if they want to get back on track.
Schroder looking to create good shots as lead guard
Although the turnovers have been problematic, it seems as though Schroder is finally getting comfortable within the flow of Vogel’s offense. The guard has made better reads in recent weeks, and has done a good job in getting teammates more involved.
“I’m just trying to create good shots. Moving the ball, trying to attack. … I just try to look for it early and [Kentavious] Caldwell-Pope when he got hot. I tried to look for him. [Ben] McLemore, all the shooters. I tried to give them positive energy, so we get some stops on the defensive end.”
When James is back, Schroder will be asked to do more scoring, but the secondary playmaking he can provide will be useful especially come playoff time.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!