The LA Lakers stunned the Miami Heat by recording a 112-109 win over them without LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Former Lakers superstar James Worthy came up with the perfect analogy for the team's mentality. Here's what Worthy said (via Lakers Daily):
"You walk in the classroom, and the teachers aren't there that day. You're gonna have some fun."
The Lakers played with great intensity on defense and moved the ball around well on offense. LA led the game with four minutes left in the first quarter and held onto it until seven minutes into the third. The Heat continued to build momentum and led by as many as six points with eight minutes left in the final frame.
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The LA Lakers, led by Dennis Schroder and Thomas Bryant's 25 combined points in the fourth to fend off the Miami Heat with some gritty plays. The former finished with 32 points and four steals, shooting 53.3% from the floor, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range, while the latter bagged 21 points and nine rebounds, shooting 81.8% from the field.
Russell Westbrook also played a crucial role, chipping in with 21 points, eight rebounds, nine assists and three steals. His disruptive play on the defensive end of the floor and playmaking came in handy, contributing to the Lakers' win.
LA Lakers players once again prove they are a couple of upgrades away from turning things around for good
The LA Lakers rely on LeBron James and Anthony Davis to help them consistently win games. However, both players are injury-prone, and their absence has hampered the team over the last two years. The Lakers desperately need upgrades to their current roster to compete against the league's best.
There are doubts about whether any roster changes would elevate them to contender status. However, their performance against a healthy Miami Heat team should be enough to convince their front office to make trades and improve the team.
The Lakers have shown they have the right mindset on many occasions, but they lack the tools to succeed. LA remains one of the most undersized teams in the league. They are also among the worst 3-point shooting teams.
Other teams like the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets and New Orleans Pelicans have found success with decent 3-point shooters and length in the wings. These teams have upgraded their rosters over the last two offseasons to get to where they are now.
The LA Lakers need to do the same, especially with LeBron James and Anthony Davis playing at an All-NBA level when healthy. They also have other players like Thomas Bryant and Dennis Schroder performing consistently well at this point, so a couple more solid signings could help the team turn things around.
The Lakers have been patient, but they are four games behind the .500 mark and only three games away from the midway point of the season. They have until the trade deadline to make moves, but they need to arrange a framework around their two first-round picks and players like Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley and Kendrick Nunn to secure the best deal possible.