After sweeping their three-game road trip, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers returned home and were able to extend their winning streak by defeating the Miami Heat, 95-80.
It was a rough night offensively for Los Angeles as they were flummoxed early on by Miami’s zone defense. The Lakers seemed to settle for the outside shots that zone defenses concede and as a result, they were unable to find much rhythm on that end of the floor.
The Heat under head coach Erik Spoelstra have always been a tough team to face because they play hard every possession and never seem to let up and that is exactly how they looked as they managed to hang around most of the game. However, a fourth quarter defensive stand from the Lakers broke the game open and allowed the home team to come away with a win.
Despite the sloppy game, James believes that his team’s mental makeup allows them to get through any rough showings.
“We’re very resilient and throughout adversity, whatever if it’s during the game, we’re able to calm our minds and just bounce back,” James said.
“We don’t get rattled. And that’s not common for a team that’s been only together for a short period of time, but it’s definitely a good trait. To know that when things get tough on the floor, we’re not making shots or we’re turning the ball over… we’re able to still be calm and still execute and that’s what we did.”
Turnovers and poor perimeter shooting have been issues for the Lakers during the early going and against the Heat it was no different as they coughed the ball over 17 times while also managing to convert on just 25 percent of their three-point attempts.
Despite that, James and Anthony Davis carried the team offensively and were able to score just enough to keep the game out of reach for Miami.
One positive to note is the Lakers came out of the gate a lot more focused and ready to go, something that has plagued them throughout the new season.
It is normal for talented teams like Los Angeles to play down to their opponent’s level of play, but Miami came into the game as one of the best teams in the league record-wise and it was apparent from the jump that James and the rest of the team knew this would be a much tougher test.
At 7-1, the Lakers are continuing to cement their contender status and they have another difficult outing when they take on the Toronto Raptors.