Lakers’ road troubles follow them home in sloppy loss to Heat – Press Enterprise

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LOS ANGELES — LeBron James quietly got dressed and slipped out of the Lakers’ locker room without saying a word. Nothing to explain the team’s poor shooting, his season-low point total or what went wrong this time.

With his silence, James expressed a rising amount of frustration among the Lakers that reached another level on Wednesday night with their 110-96 loss to the Miami Heat at Crypto.com Arena.

The Lakers returned home after spending 25 of the past 29 days on the road and looked forward to resetting their goals, examining, in detail, their offense and defense and improving their effort level.

But what should have been a happy homecoming turned into a long night of turnovers and missed opportunities against a Heat team that was playing without All-Star Jimmy Butler.

The Lakers (17-18) appeared to bring home the problems that led to them losing seven of their previous nine games on the road, by shooting just 4 for 30 from 3-point range and committing 22 turnovers.

Coach Darvin Ham said he thought his team came out flat to begin a month in which they play the bulk of their games in their home arena.

“We had a good team session, watched some film on ourselves yesterday that we accumulated over the last couple of games. Had some good dialogue, had a good shootaround this morning,” Ham said.

The Lakers coach said it’s important that the team doesn’t get discouraged. But that can be difficult in a costly mix of turnovers, low shooting percentage and a lack of outside shooting.

“It’s human nature for you to get down and disappointed when those unfortunate things happen,” Ham said. “But at the end of the day, it’s NBA basketball. It’s extremely hard to win in this league. You have to really pour all of yourself into each and every possession or as many as possible.

“We’ll figure it out. There’s a lot of time left – but the time is precious. We have to get to it, figure it out, (and) we will.”

Ham said the team needed to be consciously and consistently competitive if it hoped to turn around a season that seemingly has flat-lined and fallen short of early-season expectations. The Lakers reached the Western Conference finals last season and won the inaugural In-Season Tournament this fall, elevating the anticipation of a long postseason run.

“It’s a little bit of everything right now. We’re not executing, that team played harder than us tonight, executed better than us tonight, more physical than us tonight,” said Anthony Davis, who had a game-high 29 points, 17 rebounds, six assists, five blocked shots and three steals. “We got outworked tonight so it’s a bit of everything right now. If we keep on this train, it’s not going to be good for us.

“Guys being out is no excuse, there’s no excuses for us. Every guy in this locker room is here to win but we just have to go out and compete.”

Injuries and patchwork lineups have left the Lakers searching for an identity amid uneven results and one four-game losing streak. Wednesday – their ninth loss in 12 games – added to their misery.

The Lakers, playing without D’Angelo Russell (tailbone bruise), Rui Hachimura (calf) and Gabe Vincent (ankle) started Cam Reddish and Austin Reaves, who made his first start since Nov. 8, giving them another new look to the lineup.

“There’s real-life NBA circumstances sometimes that disrupt the continuity that you were hoping for,” Ham said. “Our biggest thing is that no matter who is in the lineup, as long as we play with energy, effort and discipline for as much of the 48 (minutes) a game as possible, we can live with the results.”

The Lakers struggled against Miami’s zone defense in the first half and failed to generate much offense. Turnovers (15 before halftime, 10 in the first quarter) also thwarted their attempt at getting off to a quick start to begin their homestand.

“We shot ourselves in the foot in the first quarter,” Reaves said. “I think we had 10 turnovers that led to some points for them. We battled after that, I think cut it to five, six, whatever it was in the third, fourth, and then had a couple of unfortunate things – the outlet pass that A.D. tried to throw to me, which I thought he was tossing it to ’Bron so I was just running.

“It’s little things like that.”

A rare off night from James didn’t help. He finished with a season-low 12 points on 6-of-18 shooting. Reaves had 24 points and eight assists, but it wasn’t enough to overcome costly mistakes, poor passes and a balanced attack by the Heat.

Tyler Herro led Miami with 21 points, six rebounds and four assists and former UCLA star Jaime Jaquez Jr. had 16 points and eight rebounds. Nikola Jovic (eight rebounds) and Bam Adebayo each scored 15 points, while five others scored in double figures, including former UCLA star Kevin Love (10 points, season-high 14 rebounds).

The Lakers came out of halftime with more energy and pulled within 70-67 behind Davis’ 12 third-quarter points. He single-handedly got the Lakers back into the game with six consecutive points with less than two minutes left in the period. The Heat, who led by as many as 12 in the first half, pushed their edge back to five to take the lead into the final quarter.





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