The first few minutes of this basketball game were incredibly sloppy with the Lakers and Heat both turning the ball in what seemed like every possession. The Heat also didn’t score a field goal for over 4 minutes.
Eventually, they’d start to sink some buckets, but it led to more of an exchange with LA as they went bucket for bucket with Carmelo and Anthony Davis both getting going. Dwayne Dedmon was noticeable early cleaning up the glass for second-chance points. With LeBron out, it was Anthony Davis carrying the load on offense for LA, and he feasted in the paint with 11 points in the first quarter. Ex-Heat swingman, Avery Bradley also put up some points from beyond the arc allowing LA to take the lead. For Avery, this was no doubt a revenge game. Still, even with Bradley blowing up (3 threes) at the end of the first quarter Miami was able to lean on Tyler Herro to stay within striking distance.
To start the second another ex-Heat swingman, Wayne Ellington and his golden arm also punished Miami from three (also 3 threes). Bam got into foul trouble early in the second, forcing the Heat to rely on Dedmon. Unfortunately, he’d also get into foul trouble forcing a rare but welcome appearance by Udonis Haslem who helped Miami on both ends. The first half moved at a snail's pace with many fouls being called, but the score stayed close (over 15 lead changes in the half).
Towards the end of the half, Tyler Herro sparked the offense getting the Heat into a rhythm (he had 10 points in the 2nd quarter). Lowry, Tucker, and Yursteven all contributed as the Heat made a small run to steal back the lead and close the half up by two.
Entering the second half it was revealed that Jimmy Butler wouldn’t return with a sprained ankle. Luckily Herro would immediately pick up the slack on offense. Miami really struggled with the three-point shot tonight (8/25), but with Bam back in the game the Lowry lob connection was back in full swing. Duncan Robinson continued to struggle tonight, his shooting slump makes him a lot less dangerous for the Heat, but I think he’ll work through it. The shots are there and open.
Bam’s presence really helped as he scored at will, was phenomenal on defense (4 steals in the third quarter), and dished out some great assists to get his teammates going. He’s been spectacular this season and is such a difference-maker. All that and still it feels like he’s only scratching the surface. Bam continued to dominate helping Miami get out to a six-point lead, but the Lakers would close the gap once again. Robinson finally got going hitting a three and getting to the rim for some slashing buckets.
Westbrook and Malik Monk (recognized Heat killer) started to heat up in the fourth enough for the Lakers to steal back the lead. The Heat would get going again with great play from Herro, Bam, Lowry, and Tucker to go on a 12-0 run. Miami also really stepped up their defense and rebounding game to keep the Lakers out of reach. That wouldn’t stop them from fighting back, with Malik Monk and Avery Bradley once again making things difficult with some poorly timed three-pointers. The Lakers pulled back within one with less than 2:30 left in the game.
The Heat would fall stagnant offensively in the final minutes, and a terrible Bam foul and Westbrook make put them down two with not much time to go. Tyler would hit a huge shot with 35 seconds left, but Westbrook hit another big shot the next possession for LA to take the lead again. With 23.5 seconds left Herro took a shot that went short, only for PJ Tucker to fly in and slam it home to tie the game. Westbrook got a shot to win the game on the final possession, but his shot would brick bringing us to overtime.
Bam playing with five fouls would get the Heat going with a slam to start the overtime period. But it was Malik Monk who’d continue his Heat killing with another three to give LA a one-point lead. Monk would also hit an off-balance floater to extend LA’s lead to three. Davis subsequently would extend it to five.
Duncan got fouled on a three-point attempt with 50 seconds left, but he’d only sink one of the three shots. His shooting slump is not helping. Bam would get fouled on an And-1 to bring the game within two, but he’d also miss the free throw making things very difficult for the Heat with only 21 seconds left. Bam fouled out fouling Carmelo, but the Lakers committed a 5-second violation giving Miami the ball and a chance to take the lead. A missed Herro shot set Miami back, but they’d get another chance and Tyler would miss a wide-open attempt to tie the game. Dedmon got fouled but missed both free throws as a very winnable game slipped through Miami’s fingers. This loss stings.