Miami Heat rookie Justise Winslow said before the matchup that he wanted to be able to say in the final game against Kobe that they killed him. Well, Kobe shot 1-7 and only played 9 minutes. We thought we would be in for a blowout, and boy were we wrong.
The Heat lost to the then 15-win Lakers 102-100 in overtime.
It was a great start to the game for the Heat. They got out to a 15-point first quarter lead getting whatever they wanted on offense. But once Kobe Bryant left the floor after 9 minutes, the Lakers came back and cut it to two by the break. In the second the Heat and Lakers flirted back and forth with each other but it seemed like Miami had control.
The second half was a different story. The Lakers took a potent Miami Heat offense and just stumped them in the second half. The Heat only scored 19 points in the third quarter, and the fourth wasn't pretty either. The Heat couldn't seem to get multiple stops, they certainly gave up way too many offensive rebounds, and it wasn't pretty.
Josh Richardson played poorly shooting the ball, Whiteside lost his touch from the line and every loose ball was going to the Lakers. I'm not exaggerating. It wasn't pretty to watch. But at the end, it came down to a chance for the Heat to win with the ball and 19.9 seconds remaining. Dwyane Wade iso'd and missed a distant shot. Miami managed only 39 points in the second half.
In overtime, the Lakers out-score the Heat 15-13. The Heat couldn't get enough stops down the stretch to win the game. Julius Randle scored with 1.9 seconds to go to give the Lakers the lead. Joe Johnson missed a three-pointer, badly, to lose the game for Miami.
Key Contributions & Difference Makers
Jordan Clarkson -- He led the Lakers with 26 points. In overtime he hit some key jumpers and free throws to help L.A. keep the throttle on Miami.
Dwyane Wade -- 26 points to lead the Heat wasn't enough. His missed jumper at the end of regulation hurt. But he was the most steady option for Miami tonight, although it seemed the game was lost on defense.
Hassan Whiteside -- He had 18 points, 17 rebounds and 7 blocks. That's pretty impressive, but he regressed and shot 6-12 FTs in this one.
Luol Deng -- He had 22 points and 11 rebounds and was back to his steady self.
Roy Hibbert -- It seemed like he had moments where he went back to old Roy and really changed the game. 12 points and 9 rebounds might be his best game in a while.
Where the game was lost for Miami
The free throw line -- Heat shot 15-26 from the FT line (57%). That difference easily could have made a win in regulation possible.
The glass -- The Heat had a 55-49 rebound advantage, but they gave up 19 offensive rebounds to the Lakers. They didn't do enough, and that clearly changed the game for them.
The rookies -- Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow had been so rock solid, that a rookie game from them seemed to hurt more than normal. Richardson who had scored 14+ points in 8 of 10 games scored 1 point. Winslow had 8 but both players were -13 and -14 in +/- so their contributions were not translating to productive basketball for the team.
The Heat are now 43-31 on the season. They are in a three-way tie with Charlotte and Boston for 4th in the East and remain a game back of Atlanta.
Next Game: Friday, 10 PM EST @ Sacramento Kings