The NBA is a game where, at anytime, a struggling team can play well enough to beat one of the league’s top level teams. That happened last night as the Lakers took down the Heat 102-100 in overtime. The Lakers were carried offensively by Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle, with Randle hitting the game-winner that kept Miami in 4th place instead of jumping ahead of the Hawks in the eastern conference standings. The Heat were led by Wade with 26 points and a huge game from Whiteside, who finished with 18 points, 17 rebounds, and 7 blocks. Luol Deng had 22.
Miami missed a major opportunity against a team they should have crushed. That has been a pattern the past few games as they have let these sub-par teams hang around long enough to gain confidence. Lucky for them, though, they were at home in those games. This time, LA was fueled by their home crowd and was able to get the victory. Let’s look at the 3 keys.
- Do your thing: Miami should have put up at least 110. Instead, their 17 turnovers, 18% three-point percentage, and 58% free throw percentage hampered them in a big way. They got lazy at times and did not put the pedal to the medal against the Lakers.
- Keep Wade going: They did a great job of keeping Wade on a roll. The only problem was that most of the other guys forgot to go with him. Deng and Whiteside followed, but everyone else had a rough night. Dragic had 11 points and 9 assists, but was only 5-14 from the floor with 4 turnovers.
- Own the glass: Miami won the rebounding battle 55-49, but LA had 19 offensive rebounds, including 6 from Roy Hibbert. Offensive rebounds are extra possessions and may as well have been turnovers.
This game was a tough loss, but it should never have gone to overtime, let alone have been close. There lies the difference between a good team and a great teams. Good teams beat the teams they are supposed to beat. No excuses here. The Heat can, however, redeem themselves tomorrow night against the Kings!