NBA regular season

Lakers, minus LeBron James, squeeze past Heat

Reuters
Lakers, minus LeBron James, squeeze past Heat

STEP UP. Lakers guard Russell Westbrook reacts after scoring a basket and drawing a foul against Heat guard Victor Oladipo.

Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

LeBron James sits out due to a non-COVID illness but the Lakers still escape the Heat behind Dennis Schroder and Russell Westbrook

Dennis Schroder scored a season-high 32 points and Russell Westbrook added 21 points, 9 assists, and 8 rebounds as the shorthanded Los Angeles Lakers earned a 112-109 victory over the visiting Miami Heat on Wednesday, January 4 (Thursday, January 5, Manila time).

Thomas Bryant had 21 points and 9 rebounds for the Lakers, who were without LeBron James (illness) and Lonnie Walker IV (left knee soreness). Those absences were in addition to Anthony Davis, who is out indefinitely due to a stress reaction in his right foot.

James, who is averaging 29.0 points per game to go with 8.2 rebounds and 6.6 assists, had been listed as questionable due to left ankle soreness before getting sick with a non-COVID illness.

The Lakers won for the fourth time in their past five games and pulled off the victory without James, who had put up a total of 90 points in the previous two victories.

Bam Adebayo scored 30 points and pulled down 13 rebounds and Jimmy Butler added 27 points for the Heat, who entered with four victories in their previous five games. 

Miami had been 8-3 since December 12, including a 112-98 home victory over the Lakers on December 28.

Victor Oladipo had 12 points for the Heat, while Kyle Lowry had 11.

Despite being undermanned, the Lakers got off to a hot start, leading 32-23 after one quarter and holding a 52-48 advantage at halftime. The Lakers shot 47.5% from the field in the opening half but already had 12 turnovers, with 7 of those from Westbrook.

The Heat led by as many as 3 points late in the third quarter before the Lakers pulled back in front, 79-78, heading into the final period.

The Heat went on top, 89-83, on a three-pointer by Tyler Herro with 8:09 remaining.

The Lakers, trailing 90-87 with 5:57 remaining, went on a 7-0 run to take a four-point advantage, with Schroder scoring 5 of the points. Bryant’s three-point play gave Los Angeles a 97-92 edge with 3:46 remaining.

The Heat pulled within 104-103 with one minute remaining on a putback by Adebayo, but Schroder scored 6 points in the final 43.1 seconds.

Schroder made two free throws with three seconds remaining for a three-point lead, and Butler missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer.

The Lakers had just five second-half turnovers, none from Westbrook. – Rappler.com

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