In one of their most physical games of the season, the injury-plagued Los Angeles Lakers fell just short of stealing a win from the Miami Heat, losing 92-91 after a game-winner from Goran Dragic.
Fueled by an 8-0 run toward the end of the first half, the Lakers tied things up at 50 going into the break. Randle led the way for the team, busting out every tool in his toolbox to score a team-high 25 points on 8-for-11 shooting with an array of bully-ball drives and smooth hook shots.
Randle also paced the Lakers with a game-high 12 rebounds. Brook Lopez was key for L.A. in the first half, spacing the floor while going 3-for-3 on 3-pointers as the two sides fought to a standstill.
The Heat charged out of the break on a 6-0 run that made it look like they might be set to pull away from the banged-up Lakers, but Lopez was ready to make sure that didn’t happen just yet.
The big man continued cashing threes, playing solid defense and even had a rim-rocking dunk that brought Staples Center to its collective feet. Lopez’s play, along with Dragic cooling off a bit, were enough to keep the Lakers within striking distance while trailing 74-71 heading into the fourth quarter.
After a back-and-forth final 12 minutes, it was Kyle Kuzma’s time to try to take over. The rookie forward had been relatively quiet for most of the night, but five quick points on a running hook shot and a three gave him the Lakers’ rookie record for threes (132) in a season and provided the team with a 91-90 lead with just over a minute remaining.
The Lakers looked set there, but then it was Dragic’s, a perpetual thorn in the their side, turn to come through again. The veteran guard spewed the fire fueling the Heat, scoring 30 points points on 10-of-18 shooting, and his spinning basket in the lane gave the Heat a 92-91 win once Isaiah Thomas missed his final attempt.
The loss sends the Lakers on the road in the midst of a two-game losing streak.