The short-handed Los Angeles Lakers put up a fight against the Miami Heat on Thursday night although it wasn’t enough to leave Florida with an away win.
L.A. left everything on the floor to overcome the pressure from the opponents and also the team’s own vulnerabilities. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope dropped a season-high 28 points, shooting 6-for-11 from downtown. Despite struggling to get buckets, Dennis Schroder registered 14 assists, the most this season and one short of his career-high.
Andre Drummond even added a solid 15 points and 12 rebounds after returning from his toe injury, dominating the paint, particularly before falling into foul trouble.
The Lakers held a slender 56-54 lead at halftime, coming back from an 11-point deficit. But in the end, they lost 110-104 in big part due to the sloppiness in their own game.
“Our guys competed their tails off, but didn’t play well enough,” head coach Frank Vogel said. “We fouled too much and we turned the basketball over entirely too much and those are the No. 1 and No. 2 way of beating yourself. They’re controllable and we just have to be better in those situations.”
L.A. turned the ball over 22 times and gave up 40 free throws; Miami converted 80% of them scoring 32 points. Just in the first quarter, the Lakers sent the Heat to the charity stripe 18 times.
But even though the Lakers allowed their weaknesses to get the better of them, Vogel praised his team for the grit and energy they played with on Thursday. “Very proud of the effort, fight and belief that we had in one another that we could beat this team, a team that was in the Finals, in their building,” he said.
McLemore ‘thrilled’ to join Lakers
Ben McLemore made his debut in the loss to Miami, just two days after signing with the Lakers for the rest of the season. The sharpshooter ended the night with six points, hitting all of his four attempts from the free-throw line.
Ahead of the game, McLemore talked about the ‘thrill’ of joining L.A. “Honestly, it was a great feeling,” McLemore said at the team’s shootaround in Miami on Thursday. “It was a great situation for me and my family and I think I made the right decision.
“I’m thrilled and happy to be a part of Laker Nation.”
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