THE Los Angeles Lakers hung tough against the Miami Heat Thursday morning (Manila time) overcoming the absence of their star player Lebron James with a 112-109 win in Los Angeles.
James was absent for an unspecified illness. He was averaging more than 40 points a game in their short two game win streak, Miami being the last team to inflict a loss against them.
So coming to the game without their top scorer was a tough challenge for the team who’s been inconsistent and has not been in good form this season.
Good thing, the Lakers’ bench was deep enough to get the home crowd their money’s worth at the Crypto.com Arena (formerly Staples Center).
Supporting cast take lead
That player is Dennis Schröder. He was averaging 10 points a game as part of a supporting cast of a team that’s been missing a couple of their top players in the last month.
None bigger a loss than center Anthony Davis missing a long stretch of games, taking his 27.4 points a game total with him.
Now with James unavailable, Schroder stepped up big time scoring 32 points to lead all scorers. He got another solid outing from Center Thomas Bryant, pitching in 21 points and 9 rebounds.
Russell Westbrook, who was limited to two quarters in the previous game due to a sore foot, came off the bench to make up for lost time with 21 points and 9 assists.
The Heat led by one point with 5 minutes and 41 seconds left in the fourth quarter before the Lakers finally took the lead for good and fended off a last ditch effort from the Heat in the final seconds from a 3-point shot from Max Strus to stay within a point 109-110 Lakers.
Dennis Schroder put the game to bed with two free throws with 3.2 seconds left before Jimmy Butler missed one last 3-point attempt that would have tied it.
Bam Adebayo had 30 points and 13 rebounds. Jimmy Butler contributed 27 points for the Heat.
The Lakers will welcome Atlanta, Saturday 11:30 am Manila time.