In what turned out to be a thrilling game, the Los Angeles Lakers were able to gut out a tough win against the Miami Heat and move to a league-best 23-3 record.
It was a playoff-type atmosphere from the jump as both teams looked to try and get the upper hand. The Heat were able to capitalize on a sloppy showing in the second quarter from the Lakers and built a double-digit advantage, but Los Angeles rallied in the second half thanks to their All-Star duo of Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
Head coach Frank Vogel talked about how their combined play has lifted Los Angeles, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Their chemistry together has been a big part of our early-season success. Their willingness to accept the role that’s been laid out for them … They come in and tag team and give us All-Star production at the center position between the two of them. That’s just part of what we’re trying to preach with this group. We’ve got to build positive chemistry, we have to achieve it and those two support each other where they are and like I said it’s a big reason for our success this year.”
McGee and Howard have formed quite the tandem at the center position with their ability to rebound, block shots, and rim run in transition. The pair both play limited minutes given the team’s best lineups often feature Davis at the five, but they have still proven to be effective whenever they see the floor.
Against the Heat, it was actually McGee who seemed to energize the Lakers on both ends as he came up with three blocks that got them into early offense. Later in the fourth quarter, Howard came up with a couple of contested defensive rebounds that helped Los Angeles settle into their lead and control the game down the stretch.
While Davis and James will deservedly receive most of the credit for the team’s impressive start, McGee and Howard have also proven to be huge assets for Vogel. Their willingness to embrace their roles has been an encouraging thing to see and hopefully continues for the rest of the season.