clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

LeBron drops 51, Lakers dismantle Heat 113-97

New, comments

The Heat lost their fourth straight home game.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the Miami Heat’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday evening, LeBron JamesCleveland Cavaliers were 0-7 in Miami since James left the Heat in 2014.

The three-time NBA champion didn’t let that record stand, scoring 19 points in the first quarter and finishing with 51 points against his former team. The Lakers dominated the Heat, never trailing in a 113-97 decision that handed Miami their fourth straight home loss.

James made six 3-pointers against the Heat, embarrassing whoever defended him. Justise Winslow, James Johnson (who had his season debut Sunday against the Lakers) and Derrick Jones Jr. all took turns attempting to defend the best player in the game. It never worked, but Miami couldn’t even take advantage when James sat down for a rest.

This was a game in which Goran Dragic didn’t play and Josh Richardson got ejected for throwing a shoe into the stands. (Richardson, who is Miami’s leading scorer, also committed five fouls, limiting him to 24 minutes of playing time.)

Hassan Whiteside missed a few shots at the rim, eliciting groans and boos from the crowd. James Johnson committed five fouls in 15 minutes. He was rusty; Johnson couldn’t take advantage of the 36-year-old Tyson Chalnder guarding him.

If Miami had a bright spot, it was Rodney McGruder. The Heat’s starting small forward scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 38 minutes. He played with some great hustle, like finding Wayne Ellington for this shot.

McGruder also continued his lob-throwing prowess.

Erik Spoelstra played with the rotation throughout the game. In the first half, Spoelstra primarily used Whiteside, Winslow, Kelly Olynyk and James Johnson as his front-court. Bam Adebayo didn’t get on the court until the 2:59 mark of the second quarter.

But in the second half, Spoelstra went to Adebayo, playing him for the entire fourth quarter. And he benched Olynyk, instead choosing to play Derrick Jones Jr., who hadn’t played in the first half. Perhaps Spoelstra played Jones Jr. because of Johnson’s foul trouble. And Olynyk found himself mis-matched defenses on a few Lakers pick-and-rolls. In any case, this play from Jones Jr. was pretty nice.

Wayne Ellington made five 3-pointers for the Heat, including one late in the fourth quarter that cut the Lakers lead to eight and pumped some energy into the crowd. But one has to wonder how Ellington will fit into the rotation once Dragic and Dwyane Wade come back into the fold? Before Wade’s seven-game absence due to the birth of his daughter, Ellington was firmly out of the rotation. Unless Tyler Johnson goes out of the rotation, that may continue.

Tyler Johnson, meanwhile, scored 17 points on 6-of-16 shooting from the field. Johnson also grabbed six rebounds in his 34 minutes of playing time. During one point in the second quarter, Johnson scored 12 consecutive points for Miami. With Dragic out and Richardson suffering from foul trouble, Miami had to rely on Johnson and McGruder doing much of the ball-handling.

The Heat will host the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.