Recap: LeBron, Heat Stave Off Late Lakers Rally

Andre Khatchaturian —  January 23, 2014

The Los Angeles Lakers made a furious rally late in the fourth quarter, but Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and the back-to-back defending champion Miami Heat held off the Purple and Gold and won, 109-102.

Bosh scored 31 and James added 27 as the Heat opened up a 16-point lead in the third quarter. However, the Lakers slowly chipped away at the lead and cut it to 98-94 with 4:09 remaining. A late LeBron three pointer with just over two minutes to go increased the Miami lead to 106-99 and the Heat never looked back from there.

There was a long stretch in the fourth quarter where the Heat would promptly respond to every Laker basket. Both teams were on fire. In fact, from the 5:56 mark of the fourth until the 1:39 point, neither team missed a shot. It was a remarkable display of up and down basketball by both teams and it was Miami’s rapid response to the Lakers’ clutch shooting that sealed the deal for the Heat.

For the Lakers, Pau Gasol and Jodie Meeks (both big factors in the Lakers’ offensive burst in the fourth) each scored 22 points. Kendall Marshall added 11 assists but the Lakers as a whole did not do a great job moving the ball — only recording 21 assists on 40 field goals made. The team shot 36 percent from three point land – a figure that’s closer to their three point average when they lose (33 percent) than their three point average when they win (43 percent).

The most glaring stat of the game, though, was rebounds. The Lakers got murdered on the glass to an awful rebounding team, 48-35. While the Purple and Gold had more offensive rebounds than the Heat, the Heat were more efficient in getting offensive rebounds. Out of 34 rebound opportunities, the Heat had 12 offensive boards while the Lakers grabbed 13 on a whopping 49 opportunities.

As mentioned in the preview, the Heat may have the fewest rebounds per game, but it’s the Lakers that have the lowest rebounding percentage in the league. LeBron had 13 rebounds and absolutely dominated Wesley Johnson and anyone else that attempted to guard him throughout the game. Greg Oden, the oft-injured former No. 1 overall pick, also made his presence felt, getting four offensive rebounds. Meanwhile for the Lakers, Jordan Hill finally got some playing time and got seven rebounds in 22 minutes. Perhaps if he played more, the rebounding disparity may have shrunk because of Hill’s athleticism and rebounding skills.

At the end of the day, the Lakers actually played a solid game against an extremely superior opponent on the road. They fall to 2-3 on the road trip and have now lost eight of their last nine against Miami, but they hung in there and fought hard until the final whistle and that’s all Laker fans can ask from their team at this juncture. The Vegas spread was +11 and they covered it. They only had 11 turnovers, shot over 45 percent from the field, and even got on a little bit of a run at the end. Ultimately, it’s never easy beating the world’s greatest player and another All-Star especially when he’s on his game and the Lakers defense struggled badly against Bosh and James.

The Lakers now head to Orlando to take on the Magic before finishing off their Grammy road trip in the Big Apple.

Andre Khatchaturian

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14 responses to Recap: LeBron, Heat Stave Off Late Lakers Rally

  1. We are constantly getting killed at the rim. For awhile it looked like a Miami layup drill. Overall good effort by the team but we must get tougher defensively. Go Lakers!

  2. Lebron, “no, no guys. I really do feel bad for them”
    Allen, “you’re right, lets let them get within 4.”
    Bosh, (stomps like a dinosaur, says with approval) “rarrrrrr, rarrr rarrrr.”

    So… ill be intently watching the draft, when its here.

  3. My +9.5 covered. I had a feeling the game will be close and it couldn’t have been any better. These days I enjoy something else because I know come from behinds are the thing. Excited for next season.

  4. This is the game we expected to lose. What would be strange (at least at the start of the season) is the rebound disparity… We simply don’t improve in certain areas.

    Care to play some ping-pong?

  5. Lakers (@ 2-8) are one of only two Western Conf teams (w/ the Pelicans @ 1-9)) to go less than 5-5 in their last 10 games…ouch!

  6. I expect us to lose every game. I just cannot believe how atrocious our rebounding and defense is. Not a single player on the team is in a defensive stance, no one is crashing the boards. Please get rid of D’antoni. If he is here next year, we will see the same results, do not doubt that.

  7. The defensive lapses are so basic we can’t really blame the coaches. If you are an NBA player you should know to keep your man and the ball always in sight – that’s basic basketball. We can blame the coaches for the defensive schemes, or lack of them.

  8. Craig W.,

    Sorry. But I disagree. When you have defensive lapses, you should blame the coaches. And the players. And their aunts and uncles. Defense is a team sport. Everyone get’s credit when it’s done right. And everyone is to blame when it goes awry.

    The radio announcers for the Lakers (whom I respect very highly), commented on the difference between Miami’s rotations and defensive intensity and the Lakers’ lack of same. Mychal Thompson said that Miami’s defensive rotations and quick reactions are a direct reflection of Pat Riley’s defensive philosophy which he has obviously passed down to the current coaches.

    So…to say that the current Lakers coaches are absolved of all sins when it comes to the current defensive woes of the team is simply wrong. The coaches ARE to blame. As are the players. Same thing goes for the rebounding on this team.

    The only solution, no doubt, will be draconian (which means major changes). And those changes will be realized after the season is over. At least I hope so. There’s no other way.

  9. Or for having guys on the floor prone to such defensive lapses, right? (injuries aside)

  10. I watch the Spurs games sometimes and when a player has a defensive lapse… Pop calls a timeout and explains the situation. It does not matter if they’re down by 20 or up by 20. Its called coaching. For every defensive lapse, there needs to be a consequence. Either Substitute the player or explain what our philosophy on defense is (not sure if their is one) Every time we give up a layup, D’antoni is motioning for the offense to go faster. If we are unable to play defense individually, Clog the middle with two bigs so at least teams are not getting easy layups and force long twos (something Phil Jackson preached). I understand our talent level is not a top 15 in the league but we do have athletic players who look lost on defense and I blame the coaching.

  11. The lack of defense is concerning. I blame the coaches for this. I thought Rambis was brought on as a defensive coach this off-season? What the hell is he doing then? If he’s not working out, then reassign the defensive task to someone else and see if that works better. If Rambis is no longer handling the defense, then reassign whomever is doing the defensive planning here.

  12. Why do so many of the players come back from injury and then go back on longer injury issues ?

    Nash
    Kobe
    Farmer
    And now Henry will be out another 14 days
    Training staff questions!

  13. Just thought I’d share two articles I found interesting:

    http://www.insidesocal.com/lakers/2014/01/23/phil-jackson-opines-on-kobe-bryants-return-lakers-front-office/

    Sounds like Phil is seriously done with coaching, but open (hoping) that the FO would come around to bringing him on board in some capacity – although he sees them heading in a different direction in terms of style.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1933439-why-kobe-bryant-pau-gasol-reject-mike-dantonis-proven-small-ball-blueprint

    Interesting piece from Ding. My take on the article is that while Kobe and Gasol seem to dislike MDA’s “small ball” approach, many of the better teams in the league are now implementing a similar approach and it seems, maybe, the league is moving toward that type of style for the near future. I almost feel as if he is labeling Kobe and Gasol as “old school” versus small ball as “new school”. Anyway, I do think he is right on one point: Kobe and Gasol’s style do not mesh with the small ball approach. It will be interesting to see if MDA wins Kobe over in the next few months.

  14. Ko,

    I just read that Xavier Henry will be out another 10-14 days. http://www.lakersnation.com/lakers-injury-update-xavier-henry-out-another-10-14-days/2014/01/24/

    Boy. That’s disappointing. I think the Lakers have really missed X. We’ll keep grinding it out, I guess.