Lakers-Heat takeaways: Russell Westbrook steps up in overtime victory

Lakers guard Russell Westbrook celebrates after scoring against the Heat.
Lakers guard Russell Westbrook celebrates after scoring against the Heat during the fourth quarter Wednesday night at Staples Center.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

On the wrong end of several comebacks already this season, the Lakers staged a triumphant rally against the Miami Heat on Wednesday at Staples Center to notch their first victory over a playoff team from last season. The Lakers (7-5) trailed by nine points with 4:45 to go, but survived in overtime to win 120-117.

Here are four takeaways from the Lakers’ second straight overtime win:

The good with the bad


The Russell Westbrook experience reached a climax in the fourth quarter Wednesday as the hot-and-cold point guard caught fire to lead the comeback. Westbrook assisted on or scored all but one of the Lakers’ field goals in the fourth quarter, shooting five of 10 from the field for 10 points with six assists. He finished with his second triple-double in as many games, finishing with 25 points, 11 assists and 12 rebounds.

“One thing about Russ: He has no conscience,” forward Anthony Davis said. “We know he can miss 20 in a row, he’s going to shoot the next one. … He’s fearless, relentless.”

The performance came two days after a 17-point, 14-assist, 12-rebound game in an overtime victory against the Hornets. While Westbrook had two triple-doubles, Wednesday’s left a considerably better aftertaste because of the late-game heroics.

Russell Westbrook has a triple-double and Malik Monk comes up big as the Lakers force overtime in a 120-117 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday.

Westbrook didn’t turn the ball over in the fourth quarter compared to three against Charlotte. The miscues allowed the Hornets to claw back from a 14-point deficit, forcing the Lakers to eke out a victory in overtime.

But the bad Westbrook also reared his head Wednesday. He missed the potential game-winning shot in regulation, settling for a long three-pointer after dribbling the ball for 23 seconds, and had two turnovers to one assist in overtime.

Getting hot in here

The Lakers shot 47.4% from three-point range, their second-best performance from deep this season, behind standout nights from Malik Monk, Avery Bradley and Wayne Ellington. The trio was 13-of-21 shooting from three-point range, and Monk came off the bench to score a team-high 27 points.

The fifth-year guard from Kentucky was 10-of-13 shooting, making four of seven three-pointers. Bradley (17 points, five-of-eight shooting from three) made three consecutive three-pointers in the first quarter to set the tone for the undermanned Lakers competing against a team that entered Wednesday night tied atop the Eastern Conference, and Ellington scored a season-high 12 by making four of six three-pointers.

It was the epitome of planning and execution as the Lakers, knowing the Heat pack the paint on defense, wanted to space the court to find open shots.

“We wound our guys up to be shot-ready,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said, “and Wayne, Malik and Avery all came through in that regard.”

Carmelo cools off

The hot-shooting night for the Lakers came despite a quiet performance from Carmelo Anthony, who had almost single-handedly carried the team’s long-range scoring output. The 19-year veteran was one-of-five shooting from three-point range Wednesday and five of 12 overall with 12 points. Entering the game, he was shooting 64.4% (38 of 59) from three-point range at Staples Center.


On top of injuries sidelining LeBron James (abdominal strain), Talen Horton-Tucker (thumb), Trevor Ariza (ankle) and Kendrick Nunn (knee), the Lakers were without Austin Reaves and Rajon Rondo on Wednesday. The two guards were both out because of minor left hamstring strains suffered in Monday’s game against the Hornets and are day-to-day, said Vogel.

“We know we have enough in this locker room even with so many guys out that we definitely need,” Westbrook said. “We know that we have enough to be able to maintain and be able to keep our head afloat and make sure we’re playing the right way.”

The Heat were also without a star player as Jimmy Butler suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter and played just 12 minutes, scoring seven points.