Roles reversed on Friday in the Lakers’ rematch with the Heat.
The last time these teams met, the Lakers won, 131-113, in a milestone game for them. It was their 27th win of the season, one more than all of last season.
The Heat responded well in the rematch. Here are five takeaways from the Lakers’ 92-91 loss:
1. You’ll notice a stark difference in the number of points scored between the first game and the second game. That’s because the Heat were able to slow the Lakers way down on Friday. “I don’t know why we weren’t getting out, grinding,” said Julius Randle, who finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds. “Complete opposite, as far as style of play, from the game we played in Miami.” Lakers coach Luke Walton was particularly annoyed that the Heat took 18 more shots than the Lakers, a sign they controlled the pace.
2. Another adjustment the Heat were able to make was against Isaiah Thomas, who tore them up in the teams’ first meeting, scoring 29 points. On Friday he shot one of nine from the field with five points. “They trapped me on pick and roll,” Thomas said. “That is no excuse. I got to find different ways to be able to put the ball in the basket and make plays for my teammates. I will put that game on me. But they definitely were more aggressive in trapping me on every dribble handoff and pick and roll I came off of.”
3. Randle also had a nice game in Miami and he was a focus of the Heat’s defense on Friday. And while they denied him the ball on the final play of the game, he did plenty of damage. He still got a double-double Friday. It was the fourth consecutive game in which Randle scored 20 or more points, the first time he’s done that in his career.
4. Travis Wear is maximizing his time in the NBA. He’s on his second 10-day contract (teams are only allowed to give one player two such contracts) and he was one of three players to score in double figures. This caused great excitement for former Laker Larry Nance Jr., who tweeted: “Travis Wear making the most of his opportunity!! Dude deserves it!!”
5. Brook Lopez has been seeing a lot more opportunity lately and playing well with it. On Friday he was very active, scoring 18 points with two blocked shots. He only played seven minutes in the fourth quarter, though, and didn’t score.
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli