Just a few days after adding an agonizing victory over Charlotte in overtime, the Lakers again needed extra time to clinch a new win, this time against the Heat. The Los Angeles team defeated Florida 120-117 in another tight final, demonstrating their ability to suffer and beat notorious rivals even in the absence of LeBron James.
They were also without their stars, the Heat, who lost Jimmy Butler late in the first quarter to a sprained ankle. This forced other less important men to take a step forward, something that happened in both squads, who demonstrated the strength and resources to compete without their two great references.
In the Lakers, Anthony Davis served as a leader in sports and spirits, captaining the team in many ways and without shunning responsibility. The power forward, author of 24 points, 13 rebounds and 4 assists, perhaps did not have his most stellar performance in terms of numbers or accuracy, but he did bring that extra character and determination that helped his team to prevail in such a final Lasted.
The one who did stand out in terms of numbers was Malik Monk, who with 27 points and a 76.9% accuracy in the shot played his best game since his arrival at the Lakers and was essential both in the last quarter and in overtime with numerous baskets important. In a somewhat more gray clash for Carmelo Anthony, who was not the scoring machine from the bench that he has been on other occasions, the former Hornets knew how to fill that role and give Vogel’s men a plus that was worth the victory.
“I already had this role from time to time in Charlotte when other teammates got injured,” he said. «I had to go out and play important minutes and dedicate myself to generating plays or doing other kinds of things that normally do not correspond to me. I try to work hard on my game so I felt ready for this moment.
Russell Westbrook, meanwhile, achieved a new triple-double by adding 25 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds, another round performance that was once again somewhat marred by his losses (8). Even so, the point guard was able to score several important baskets in the final bars of the fourth quarter, which made him essential to force overtime.
In the Heat, who served as a great reference was Bam Adebayo, who with 28 points and 10 rebounds added a double-double to which he also added 6 steals and 4 assists. Tyler Herro, for his part, followed him with 27 after a great night in the outside shot, although he was not able to put the icing on the cake by missing two 3-pointers in the last nine seconds of overtime that could have given the victory to Spoelstra’s team. or force a second extension.
“The second was a very clear shot,” said the guard, who, despite a poor reception, shot with enough space. “I would score nine out of ten like that, but what happened has happened and we have to keep moving forward.”
Kyle Lowry, meanwhile, acted as game director even on an ill-advised night at the pitching level. The point guard could only score 5 of his 14 attempts, but still finished with 18 points and 11 assists on his locker.
(Cover photo: Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images)