At shootaround Thursday morning, Isaiah Thomas was asked about the “South Beach flu,” a euphemism for players having a little too much fun the night before playing in Miami. It gives the Heat one of the best home-court advantages in the NBA.
Thomas said this was the first time for a lot of his teammates, so he was also interested to see how they responded.
I’ll spare you the temperature-related puns, but Thursday night in Miami the Lakers got very hot. And I can’t say I expected it as the team had just spent two nights in Atlanta followed by two nights in Miami, including a day off.
Here are five takeaways from Thursday’s 131-113 win over the Miami Heat.
1. The Lakers opened the game making seven of their first eight shots and didn’t cool much from there. Their 59.5% shooting overall was the best they’ve shot as a team since 2014. They even made 55.2% of their three-pointers, making 16. “We were sharing the ball,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “We were pushing it. We were playing at the pace we like to play at. We were making the simple extra pass instead of trying to pull quick shots or try to make spectacular passes. We were just making the simple one. That’s what a lot of times leads to good open rhythm shots and we were able to make some of those tonight.”
2. Thomas and Lonzo Ball’s chemistry showed last night. They played together for a lot of the fourth quarter and fed off each other. At one point, Ball appeared to alter a play call to get Thomas a shot while he was hot in the fourth. “I remember watching that when he was back in Boston, that’s what it reminded me of,” Ball said. “I’m happy for him, happy for the team. We definitely needed him.”
3. Julius Randle had another big game, most of it in the first half when the Lakers were building their lead. Randle scored 21 points in the first half, with a plus/minus rating of plus-16, which was second only to Ball at halftime. At this point, discussing Randle’s elevated play is getting a little repetitive. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope called Randle a “bully” on the court.
4. Before suffering a hip flexor injury in the fourth quarter, Brandon Ingram was playing well. He had 19 points on eight-of-14 shooting, five assists and five rebounds. Ingram is on a streak of 14 games with double-digit scoring.
5. Ball made quite an impression on Dwyane Wade. “I've been a big fan of him,” Wade said. “I watched him play in college. He has a great feel for the game. He doesn't play for statistics. He plays to win. He moves the ball, his IQ of the game is incredible, he's athletic. Everybody talks about his shot, but he's been shooting that way his whole life. He can knock shots down. He's good, man. He's a good basketball player. Everyone expects him to come in and be Kobe Bryant. Kobe Bryant wasn't Kobe Bryant when he came in. He had to work to it. So he has a long career, hopefully, in front of him and we'll see how it shakes out.”