The Los Angeles Lakers are playing their best ball of the season. No doubt about that. Aside from the collapse in Phoenix and the embarrassment in Boston this Grammy road trip has been a real turning point. And for three quarters in Miami the Lake Show was looking like they were really ready to make their final push for the postseason.
The fourth quarter came around and everything fell apart as the Lakers lost 107-97 to the Miami Heat.
But before we get into the specifics of the game let’s first talk about the game of LeBron James. Credit where credit is due I have given the self-proclaimed king plenty of grief over the years but his arrival as a champion has changed my tune and his current form in unprecedented.
James is operating at a level of efficiency never before seen seemingly scoring at will and taking over games like Bane. Today was more of the same from James as he scored 32 points on a mere 18 shot attempts. Simply put his imprint on the game was ultimate the difference in a once close contest. Dwyane Wade matched LeBron also shooting 12 of 18 from the floor as he scored 30 of his own.
Those two were indefensible on the afternoon making life miserable for the Lakers.
At the half this one was tied and going into the fourth the Lakers were still within striking distance. Then those troublesome turnovers began to pile up and the game got away from LA.
Coming into the final frame the Lakers had only coughed up the rock 7 times. They finished with 14 for the game. Do the math on that and you’ll know how this one became so one sided.
Kobe Bryant did work as he too got in on the LeBron act scoring 28 on 11 of 19 shooting with 9 dimes and 6 boards. But his efforts alone were not enough.
Either Dwight Howard is this hobbled or he’s just no longer inspired. 15 and 9 is a solid line for a middle of the road big man in the NBA. For Howard it’s another off night and for the Lakers it’s just not enough.
One man that is really getting a pass is the man who was supposed to be the passer the Lake Show so desperately needed. Steve Nash was once again relegated to being a spot up shooter scoring 15 on only 5 shots but handing out just 2 assists while turning it over 3 times.
All those fourth quarter turnovers were the final nail in L.A.’s coffin. They forced the rock inside despite Miami’s aggressive D making far too many errant passes.
For whatever it’s worth Earl Clark did his thing again just missing another double-double with 18 points and 9 boards.
Meanwhile the bench gave Mike D’Antoni nothing as the three men comprising the second unit scored just 12 points.
This road trip was a success in relative terms for the Lakers but after it was all said and done they’re right back to where they started. Four games under .500 and a full four games out of playoff contention. The effort is greatly improved and the results are finally coming. Still, this loss leaves much to be desired and the season is slipping away with each day. From here out these Lakers must take better care of the ball, finish games like champs and the wins will come. Considering the situation there cannot be anymore victories of the moral kind. Only the type that show up in the win column.