The Los Angeles Lakers managed to pull out a win against the Miami Heat following a late energy burst from LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma.
Los Angeles found some life in the fourth quarter as they went on to defeat the Miami Heat 108-105 behind huge performances and a final matchup between former teammates.
It was an ugly game for the Lakers, but they managed to buckle down in the end for the win.
The Lakers went into the fourth quarter just ahead by one point, 84-83 after a third-quarter performance that was poor at times as Los Angeles had a stagnant offense. Their offense was like this throughout the game that kept Miami within distance.
Luke Walton said, “I thought the ball movement got stagnant.” There were times in the game where Los Angeles did not share the ball to keep up a rhythm on offense and the Lakers got looks that just could not fall.
With the offense stalled, the energy was low and the Lakers had to find other ways to make plays defensively and offensively to keep themselves in the game.
Down the stretch of the fourth quarter, LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma bolstered the energy for the Lakers. A dunk by James brought the Lakers within one 96-95 as there was 5:37 left on the clock. Kuzma then followed up with a three-point shot in transition to put the Lakers on top at 96-98.
These plays gave Los Angeles some life to keep them in the game as they were in the middle of what would be a 13-2 run following a three-pointer by James and free throws from Lance Stephenson.
Miami managed to score their way back into the game with efforts from Dwyane Wade and Josh Richardson. Wade and Richardson’s scoring contributed to a 7-3 run that the Heat went on to get within one, 105-106 at the 1:38 mark of the game.
On a wild sequence that began with a Justise Winslow steal on Josh Hart, Winslow brought the ball down the court in transition and passed the ball to Wade who missed an open three-pointer. In hustling to grab the ball following the missed shot, Winslow fouled James.
James ended up making both of his free throws to extend the Lakers’ lead to three with 22 seconds left to play.
With one of his two blocks in the game, Lonzo Ball swatted a Rodney McGruder lay-up attempt. Ball’s defensive effort helped the Lakers hold onto the lead. The Heat had two good looks from three-point range to possibly tie the game from Winslow and Wade in the game’s final seconds but each attempt did not fall in the Heat’s favor.
When asked about that last Miami possession with James guarding Wade on his attempt, Walton said, “Selfishly, I’m glad D. Wade missed that shot, but it was a pretty cool way to end that game.”
James and Wade shared one last dance in their final matchup as opponents in the Lakers’ win. James wins their 31st match up against one another and their all-time head-to-head series 16-15. James finished the game with a near triple-double as he had 28 points, 12 assists, and 9 rebounds, while Wade finished with 15 points, five rebounds, and 10 assists.
In addition to James and Wade’s performances, the young guys for their respective teams had themselves huge performances. Winslow went on a tear off the bench for Miami as he had 28 points on a three-point percentage of 60 percent with seven rebounds, two assists, and a steal.
Kuzma led all scorers in this game with 33 points on 14-22 field goals, seven rebounds, and one assist. He had a 16-point first half on 8-11 field goals and 17-point second half on 50 percent of his three-pointers.
This was not a pretty win as it went down to the final seconds. Los Angeles managed to have some locked down defense at the end that saved them. Los Angeles wins the season series against Miami 2-0.
The Lakers will travel to Houston to face the Rockets on Thursday. It will be aired on TNT at 5 p.m. PT.