The Lakers secured a victory over the Heat with an inspiring performance by Dennis Schroder
Wednesday night set the stage for the Los Angeles Lakers to take on the Miami Heat. It was reported before the game that LeBron James had been suffering from a non-Covid like symptoms that had him miss a game against his former team. The Lakers opened the 2023 calendar year with a 121-115 victory over the Hornets and looked to keep up that winning mentality. Los Angeles needed a collective effort by the entire team to get the victory, and that’s exactly what occurred.
The Lakers had five players in double figure scoring, including 2 that came off the bench. Russell Westbrook continues to flourish in his role as a 6th man leader with still contributing 9 assists, shooting 2 of 6 from three-point range and most importantly scoring 21 points and adding 8 rebounds. Wenyen Gabriel added 10 points, Austin Reaves scored 11 points, and the surprise of the night was Thomas Bryant with 21 points and 9 rebounds. Often times during the season the Lakers have missed a player that steps up to grasp the victory. It has happened when LeBron played and when Anthony Davis is in the lineup. It has been rare when both players are out.
Wednesday night was an opportunity for Dennis Schroder to show his potential to fill in that slot. Schroder scored a season high 32 points, and 14 of those points came in the 4th quarter for closing time. Schroder explained understanding his role, “I’ve got to be more aggressive anyway, even when AD and Bron are coming back, to open things for AD and Bron. Hearing that Bron is sick, and AD is out as well, everybody just gave a little bit more tonight.”
Miami had large contributions from Bam Adebayo (30 points and 13 rebounds) and Jimmy Butler (27 points). Kyle Lowry ended the game with 11 points and noted the fact that the Heat did not keep pace scoring with the Lakers. “They were rolling. They were confident in what they were doing. We were a little bit of a step slow tonight.”
The Lakers capture the 17th win of the season and slide to the 12th place in the Western Conference. Lakers host the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night. Miami Heat holds the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference. Miami continue their road trip to Phoenix on Friday night to face a streaky Suns team.