Bah-humbug! On a day most people spend celebrating the joy of Christmas, Laker fans were teased with a good start against a good team, only to be disappointed in the end.
With Jordan Farmar back in the lineup after missing a few weeks due to a torn hamstring, the team look energized to start, getting off to a 10-point lead in the first quarter. The second quarter, however, saw them produce just 19 points to the Heat’s 30.
The second half was a close game, with Miami outscoring the Lakers by just a point. Nick Young single-handedly kept his team in contention in the final two quarters, but they just couldn’t close and lost 101-95.
Bench – Led by none other than SwaggyP himself, the reserves were (and have been all season) the team’s backbone. Without Nick Young’s hot shooting in the second half, where he scored 17 of his 20 points, this game might’ve been the blowout that many predicted. Yet there he was in the third quarter, going one on one with Lebron James; hitting a three over the self-proclaimed Chosen One, and getting fouled to complete a four-point play. He hit another three to end the third quarter, cutting the lead to two points going into the final 12 minute. Right behind Young was Xavier Henry, who finished with 14 points on 5-8 from the field.
Jodie Meeks – There have been talks about Meeks getting traded for Jerryd Bayless, but ever the professional, the Laker guard put in a hard day’s work, playing almost 38 minutes (the most on the team), chipping in 17 points on 50% shooting, grabbed four rebounds, handed out three assists and had two steals.
Pau Gasol – It was a double-double night for the Spaniard, 13 points and 13 rebounds. He should have had a bigger night, but like he’s done so often this season, Gasol settled for jumpers when he could have just rammed himself to the hoop for a higher percentage shot and possibly a foul.
Shawne Williams – Three points on 1-4 from the field, in addition to five rebounds, in 16 minutes. The majority of Williams’ stat lines this season look like this. He does so little for a team who needs a lot. He’s a streaky shooter, a less than average rebounder and defender and it’s unfortunate he gets (so much more) playing time over productive players like Chris Kaman and Robert Sacre, both of whom received DNP-Coach’s Decision lines today.
Ball Movement – They had just 15 assists compared to Miami’s 29. The Lakers also had 17 turnovers, which, in looking at their assists, isn’t surprising. There was a lot of helter-skelter at the ends of shot clocks. Passing the ball with so little intention other than to pass it on.
Lead Maintenance – A double-digit lead for the Lakers in any quarter other than the fourth (with a minute left in the game) produces one foregone conclusion – they’re probably going to lose it. After leading 27-17 with less than a minute left in the first quarter, Miami manages to tie it four and a half minutes into the second quarter. It was missed three after missed three, followed by turnovers. That 10-point lead never had a chance with the Lakers getting as careless as they did.
Points In The Paint – The difference in paint points says it all – 58-26. It’s the reason Miami shot 51% to the Lakers’ 42%. In the second quarter, 18 of the Heat’s 30 points were scored in the painted area and they shot 63%. The Lakers went 2-12 from behind the arc, and scored just eight points inside. They shot 35% in that quarter. Gasol went head-to-head against Chris Bosh, who won the battle 13-4. Gasol went just 2-2, rarely taking Bosh to the hoop where he is the most successful.
Free Throws – The Lakers attempted 26 free throws to Miami’s 17. The Heat went just 10-17 and the Lakers shot just 15-26 from the charity stripe. In a game that was as close as this was, every single point counted and had the Lakers converted at least six or seven of those nine missed free throws, this game might’ve ended differently, perhaps with a victory.
The Lakers fought, no doubt about that. But they’re still a hobbled team trying to get by. Unfortunately, they’re three games below .500, as a result.
Despite this loss, we hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas Day!