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D’Angelo Russell says Lakers energy, effort improved vs. Heat

Despite the loss, D’Angelo Russell had some positive takeaways from the team’s time in Miami.

Los Angeles Lakers v Miami Heat Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

The Lakers were down by double digits entering the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat and with only seven people playable, it looked like the game was in the refrigerator.

The Lakers had other plans.

LeBron James continued to attack the basket, exposing mismatches and racking up 30 points and Christian Wood played well on both sides of the court, hitting timely threes to put the Lakers back in contention. Even with a perplexing ejection of D'Angelo Russell reducing the Lakers to six players, Los Angeles had a chance to win in the closing seconds with Cam Reddish missing the game-winning corner three.

After the game, Russell spoke about the grit and grind the Lakers demonstrated on the road in Miami.

"I think our energy and our effort and our approach to the game (improved). I think we got off to a better start in the first quarter," Russel said postgame. "Obviously, we turned our level of intensity up as things got out of hand. So, just finding a way to start like that and not digging a hole throughout the game, just trying to play the full 48 minutes and see where we are, see what we get from that."

Russell is on point, with the Lakers' energy and effort being satisfactory even in defeat. The first-quarter woes were eradicated as well. The Lakers had a -60 point differential through the first five games, so ending the opening frame even is a step forward.

This effort and energy, however, hasn't resulted in road wins for the Lakers, as they remain winless away from home. L.A. hopes to end this trend this week as two road games are coming up against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday and the Phoenix Suns on Friday.

The Lakers have had to dig themselves out from slow starts in games all season. If they drop the last two games of this road trip and start the year 3-6, we may soon be looking at a repeat of last year's scenario, where the Lakers spent all of the season digging themselves out of the 2-10 hole they started in.

So, we can contextualize losses and commend the effort, but at the end of the day, this is a result-driven industry, so, in the words of Al Davis, "just win, baby."

You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.

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