5 notes from the Miami Heat’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers

Mar 30, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle (30) shoots the game winning shot over Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) and forward Luol Deng (9) in overtime at Staples Center. Lakers won 102-100. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 30, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle (30) shoots the game winning shot over Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) and forward Luol Deng (9) in overtime at Staples Center. Lakers won 102-100. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Miami Heat lost in overtime to… the Los Angeles Lakers?

20. Final. 100. 110. 102

1. Blown opportunity

Earlier in the night, the Atlanta Hawks lost to the Toronto Raptors, opening the door for the Miami Heat to take control of the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. All they had to do was beat the Los Angeles Lakers. That should be easy, right? After all, they only have 15 wins all season!

Well, not so much. The Heat just didn’t have its groove in the late West Coast game, and stumbled throughout the four quarters. Somehow, they stumbled into overtime thanks to a late game shot by Dwyane Wade. Overtime was played tight, but Julius Randle hit a shot in the final seconds to give the Lakers the edge and upset the Heat.

The Heat let a chance to grab the advantage of the third seed over a streaking Hawks team slip through their hands. This will likely be a battle in the East until the very end of the season.

2. Wade vs Kobe

Dwyane Wade got his wish to play Kobe Bryant one last time.

That lasted all of 8 minutes and 44 seconds before Kobe came out and never returned to the game. In that time, Kobe went 1-of-7 from the floor and was blocked by Wade. He didn’t have it tonight, and he and the Lakers were right to call it a night for him.

3. Off

The Heat were just… off.

Without diving too deep into one game that seems like an outlier, I’ll just list a few things I noticed:

  • The first successful Wade-Whiteside pick-and-roll wasn’t completed until 43 minutes into the game.
  • Josh Richardson was 0-of-8 from 3-point range.
  • Winslow, Richardson and Whiteside–who have been so good for Miami off the bench–were all negatives in plus/minus.
  • Joe Johnson missed all four of his 3-pointers.
  • Goran Dragic struggled on defense, but also on offense, missing a couple of layups at the rim that he almost always makes.

See… just chalk it up to an off night, folks.

4. The difference

The difference tonight came down to two things: turnovers and possessions.

The Heat, who hadn’t committed more than 15 turnovers in a game since March 3, turned the ball over 18 times tonight (the most since Feb. 27 vs Boston). The Lakers committed just 10.

The other thing was useful possessions. Miami had just 86 shot attempts compared to 102 for Los Angeles. While the Lakers made just 36.3 percent of its shots compared to Miami’s 47.7 percent, the Lakers still edged the Heat because they were just able to get more shots up. Simple.

The turnovers are obviously linked to that, as are the Lakers’ 19-14 offensive rebound advantage.

5. Well…

The fact that they almost won this game says something, though I’m not sure what.