The Lakers were able to keep it close against the Heat Thursday night without all the top talent on the floor.
The Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Miami Heat Thursday night in what was still an encouraging game. Losing is never fun, but the Lakers only lost by a final of 110-104 without any top talent on the floor.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis both remain out and Kyle Kuzma is dealing with an injury of his own. Keeping it close against a healthy Heat team is a testament to the system in Los Angeles.
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The main positive from the loss was Andre Drummond returning to action. He showed up in Los Angeles, only to suffer a toe injury right away. He got the start in Miami and ended up with 15 points and 12 rebounds in 27 minutes. This came on only nine shots from the floor, which proves Drummond can put up these numbers with ease and not be a focal point on offense.
All five Lakers starters finished in double-figures and Montrezl Harrell added 10 points off the bench. Having Drummond back meant Harrell got the job as the big man off the bench, while Marc Gasol got a DNP on the night.
What the Lakers need is one or two players to step up and have big nights when Davis and James are out. Kuzma can usually be counted on as one, but he has a calf injury to deal with. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ended up taking the lead Thursday with 28 points. That is impressive for a player averaging under 10 points on the season.
Having Drummond, Caldwell-Pope, Harrell, and Dennis Schroder healthy gives the Lakers a nice core. It is no championship core, obviously, but they can hold their own and still take down lesser teams in the league while the stars continue to heal. Schroder even had an off night Thursday. A better game out of him and we are discussing a win here.