There were plenty of people around the Lakers that felt that going on the road would give the team a renewed focus heading into the week before their Finals rematch against the Celtics. But after the first game of a four-game trip, the Lakers are looking like the same team that struggled against inferior competition at Staples Center, as they lost a close one to the Heat by a count of 89-87.
This year's Lakers have a habit of playing down to their competition, and that seems to be what happened in Miami. The Heat had struggled over their last few games, and had lost three straight coming into Friday's game against L.A. But as has been the case all season, when teams face the Lakers, they tend to put forth their best effort. Dwyane Wade finished with 35 points and six rebounds, which was by far his best outing in his last four games. And two Lakers in particular either had a really off game, or chose to indulge a little too heavily in the South Beach party scene the night before this one.
Lamar Odom played dreadfully, and finished with just three points, four rebounds, and five personal fouls in 27 minutes off the bench. As if his 1-of-6 shooting from the field wasn't bad enough, Odom missed two free throws with his team down by seven with under three minutes to play that would have been helpful, considering his team lost by only two points. Andrew Bynum couldn't do anything against the Heat's tandem of Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem inside, and ended up with just four points and six rebounds in 27 minutes.
Kobe Bryant had a solid game, despite having to work pretty hard to get good looks at the basket. Kobe finished with 28 points on 50% shooting from the field, but his 18-footer that would have tied the game rimmed out as time expired, giving the Heat a well-earned victory, while sending the Lakers on to Orlando, likely wondering how they lost to what is essentially a one-man team in Miami.