On at 07:45 CEST
Jimmy Butler’s Miami Heat defeated the Los Angeles Lakers (110-104) on Thursday in a very tight game in which Marc Gasol was left without playing for the return after the injury of the new Los Angeles center Andre Drummond.
Drummond, who missed the last three games after injuring himself in his Lakers debut last week, returned to the court in Miami and had 15 points (5 of 9 shooting), 12 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals against 3 losses in 27 minutes.
Drummond’s addition to the Lakers has put Gasol in a compromised position, since until now he was the starting pivot.
The Spaniard recently admitted that his role change has not been an easy thing to assimilate, But this week, he underscored his commitment to the Lakers in their bid to win his second NBA ring in a row.
Lakers coach, Frank Vogel, only used Andre Drummond and Montrezl Harrell to face some Heat who clearly bet on low and very agile quintets.
Drummond had foul problems adding his third in the second quarter, but also at that time Vogel decided to call Gasol and opted for Harrell’s return to the track.
The ones in purple and gold still unable to count on injured LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
In addition, to the duel against the Heat they attended with the casualties of Kyle Kuzma due to discomfort in the calf and Talen Horton-Tucker by suspension after Tuesday’s tangana against the Toronto Raptors.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, in his best performance this season, was the beacon of these depleted Lakers with 28 points (6 of 11 in triples).
The current NBA champions they have 32 wins and 20 losses and away from the Denver Nuggets (33-18), who occupy the fourth place in the Western Conference.
For their part, the Heat were guided by Butler, who scored 28 points (8 of 11 in shots) and who certified the local victory in a very tight final stretch and with options for both teams.
The Miami team now have 27 wins and 25 losses and are tied with the Atlanta Hawks for fifth in the Eastern Conference.
DUEL IN THE AREA
The match started with a great duel in the zone between Drummond for the Lakers and Bam Adebayo by the Heat.
However, a successful start by Trevor Ariza and Victor Oladipo fired at Miami, who after four minutes already boasted a significant difference (20-10).
The Heat played it with a low quintet, of constant help in defense and a lot of mobility in the protection of the rim.
But Drummond took it upon himself to punish the Heat’s lack of physique in the paint while Caldwell-Pope unleashed his inspired night with 10 points in the first quarter (32-27).
The statistics of that first set left a curiosity: the Heat had 18 free throws for 16 points scored while the visitors only went to the line once.
With Butler already displaying his arsenal and after a failed alley-oop by Goran Dragic that ended in a bizarre basket, the Heat went back on the scoreboard (44-33 after four minutes).
However, supporting Lakers actors such as Markieff Morris or Wesley Matthews stepped forward to stop the Heat’s momentum (42-47 halfway through the second quarter).
The combative, fierce and very serious spirit of some Lakers overflowing with rage continued in defense and attack, so much so that with a Harrell dunk they went to the dressing room ahead (54-56) after a very entertaining and hard-fought first half.
At the restart, the Lakers lacked the reliability that they had shown until then and accumulated 9 losses in the third quarter, the same that they had registered in total in the first two quarters.
Between the distractions and deconcentration of the Angelenos and splendid plays like an additional triple by Duncan Robinson, those of Miami seemed that they already had the wind in their favor.
That’s where Caldwell-Pope resurfaced, a Lakers life insurance tonight from the perimeter and that allowed the Lakers to come to the end very alive (92-89 after the third quarter).
In the end, Butler took the reins of the match with an astonishing serenity and put his team ten points above in the absence of only two minutes, a slab too big and for which the Lakers no longer found an answer.
The Lakers will face the all-powerful Brooklyn Nets of Kevin Durant and James Harden on Saturday, while the Heat will return to action on Sunday against the Portland Trail Blazers.