If you want to know how much energy the Los Angeles Lakers are playing with on any given night, you don’t often have to look much further beyond LeBron James. Against the Miami Heat Monday night, they toyed with their food for much of the game but still managed to pull out a 108-105 win.
While it makes sense that the Lakers would go as James goes, there are going to be nights where it’d be nice if the guys around LeBron could pick him up on a night where he just doesn’t have it in terms of energy, especially as he moves past his prime. That will probably take some time, but it’s a development the Lakers will need if they want to be more consistent.
In what was the 31st and final matchup between James and Dwyane Wade, it was James who walked away with bragging rights for the rest of time (unless some kind of trade sends Wade to a team that might face the Lakers again at some point this season). James finished with just shy of a triple-double (28 points, 12 assists and 8 rebounds). Wade had a nice run in the second half but was pretty quiet the rest of the game.
Late in the game, both James and Wade had chances to either put the game away or take a late lead. They both missed, but the crowd (that had earlier given Wade a standing ovation) was definitely into the moment, especially as James guarded Wade to force a miss on the game’s final possession.
One consistent complaint from this one were the lineups Luke went with for important chunks of the quarters. It just makes no sense whatsoever that there would be any minutes at all where either James or Lonzo Ball aren’t on the court while Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo are out. And with Rondo encountering a minor setback in his recovery from a broken hand, Luke Walton really needs to figure this out — and it isn’t exactly nuclear physics.
The Lakers allowed Miami to stick around for much of the game and exerted a lot more effort than they probably should’ve had to, given the state of both teams. As a result, this was once again close right to the end.
The Lakers have another couple days off before they go to Houston to take on the Rockets on Thursday night.