The Lakers lose Anthony Davis and lose to the Heat
The Lakers lost their second straight game in Florida on Monday night, falling to the Heat 108-107 when Cam Reddish’s game-winning attempt from beyond the arc hit the front rim and bounced wide. The loss moves the Lakers to 0-4 on the road this season and drops them back below .500 with a 3-4 record overall.
But more important than this individual match was the health of Anthony Davis, who was unable to finish this match after suffering what was considered a hip spasm in the second quarter. After going to the locker room for further examinations, Davis was able to warm up after halftime and started the third quarter as part of the starting lineup, but he played just seven minutes in the period, working through the latter portion of that shift as he went. Scoreless and without grabbing a rebound in that stretch.
With Davis out and the team already short on the front court due to the continued absences of Rui Hachimura and Jared Vanderbilt, the Lakers relied on LeBron James to provide more production and he was there to meet the moment. LeBron contributed 30 points, four rebounds, three assists and three blocks, doing his best to shoulder the load as a scorer to keep the Lakers connected on the scoreboard.
James was especially bright in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 points on a 6-8 run on mostly shots around the basket against a Heat defense that didn’t seem to have many answers for its open-court attacks, leadership or toughness. Another complained. Through multiple possessions, James was able to get to the basket aggressively, and either finish over or through a Heat defender.
Austin Reeves joined LeBron with a strong night of his own, continuing his recent trend of rebounding from the efficiency issues he faced early in the season. Reaves nearly tallied a triple-double, scoring 23 points on 9-14 shooting to go along with team highs in both rebounds (10) and assists (nine). Mixing quick drives to the rim with mid- and long-range jumpers, Reeves looks like he’s starting to settle down and find his legs after his long summer of hoops.
Despite strong games by LeBron and Reeves, along with good stretches from Christian Wood (12 points, six rebounds) and Taurean Prince — who returned from a two-game absence to score nine points on 4-9 shooting — the Lakers simply haven’t done that. He doesn’t have enough depth or players available, especially after D’Angelo Russell was ejected in the third quarter which left the Lakers with just six regular players available on the roster (besides their three two-way players).
Despite fighting back and having a chance to win the game in the end, the Heat proved to be a little insurmountable while capitalizing on the performance of their two stars. Jimmy Butler led the way with 28 points on 9-15 shooting, while Bam Adebayo topped the stat list with 22 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists.
The Lakers return to action on Wednesday when they continue their road trip in Houston against the Rockets. Time will tell if Davis is healthy enough to try, but he expressed confidence he will be ready by then.
Whether he leaves or not, the Lakers will look to come back and get their first win of the season.