The hope of the Lakers, you can already tell the last hope and not the great hope, is for Anthony Davis to return. Not only that: the burning nail happens because the power forward returns in his best version, that of the generational interior who changes games on defense and scores from almost anywhere on the court. Sunday had begun with the possibility of Davis returning in Miami, a certain glimmer of optimism for a team that has all but forgotten that happy concept. But no, Davis didn’t come back (“it’s close but it’s not there yetFrank Vogel said), the Lakers lost (a matter of logic) on the Heat’s track (113-107) and are in negative again (23-24). In the zone play in of a weak West and with LeBron James below 50% of victories after 47 regular season games. Something that had not happened to him since 2004. Since rookie.
And things are not going to get better, for now. After a very comfortable calendar (the best in the NBA) in the first half of the season, something that has not served at all in the balance of victories (or yes: so that the disaster is not even greater), the thing is going to put hard really now. After Miami, Brooklyn and Philadelphia. And then, relentlessly, Charlotte and Atlanta. The thing, except for a miracle that would have to happen for the return of Davis, looks really ugly. The defeats are on their way to stacking up before an All Star break where it is impossible to know if Frank Vogel will arrive in his position. Right now, in fact, it almost seems like a less risky bet no. Problems, problems and problems. All those who don’t have some Heat that are the new leader of the East: 30-17, the same defeats as the Nets and some Bulls down.
Those who know that the Lakers are not there (neither because of their physical appearance, their spirit, their defense or their attack…) for games of the level that requires you to visit Miami, saw the most logical script fulfilled almost from the first quarter closed at 39-25 before the advantage reached 26 points (66-40) three minutes before the break. From there the thing remained stable until 98-75 at 8:39 of the end which was followed by a furious reaction from the Lakers, who at least put pride in a defeat that was already unalterable because it is a team that has no luck either. He doesn’t hit the doors of the epic enough for them to open. But a 13-32 turnaround changed the score and the tone, and the Lakers got within five twice with time still to go. They took two 3-pointers from Duncan Robinson and PJ Tucker. And then they got to four and recovered the ball, again with time still, but an attacking foul on Avery Bradley with 37 seconds remaining ended the miracle. When it’s not, it’s not.
Vogel once again relied on Trevor Ariza (0/5 triples) and Dwight Howard. Two players far below the physical level of what is required, right now, by the first NBA level. His counters seem to be zero, especially that of an Ariza whose return (after a nasty ankle injury) was another cause for hope for weeks. It has brought nothing, only more disappointment. In the final reaction shots entered Avery Bradley (15 points, 4/9 triples) to accompany a Russell Westbrook who reached 20 points for the first time since January 2 (24 + 9 + 9) and a LeBron James who finished with 33 points and 11 rebounds, pushing until the end despite a 1/8 in triples (5/25 the starters). LeBron has 17 games in a minimum of 26 points, in all of them he has been the top scorer for the Lakers and recognized after this defeat that he is “in one of the best offensive trances” of his entire career. And that is serving very little, almost nothing, to some Lakers who have gone 17 games without Davis as they were just before 12 without LeBron himself. When it’s not, it’s not.
The Heat, their rival in the 2020 Finals (it seems like forever) are, right now, much better. These yes, a contender for the title with stripes and a team that competes whoever is missing. Because someone is always missing. This time, Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro. Despite the final scare, the triumph was illuminated by Jimmy Butler (22+10+12), who broke (10) the record for triple-doubles in the Regular Season with the Heat jersey. It was owned by a LeBron who hadn’t played at his old house since December 2019. Bam Adebayo (14+8+5), Duncan Robinson (25 with 6/11 on triples) and Caleb Martin (15) provided the rest. Logic prevailed, won the great team to the team (And even this seems like a lot to say). The Heat are leaders in the East and are going for it. The Lakers are in the negative and nobody knows where they are going. Oh yeah, that’s the worst of it all. When it’s not, it’s not.
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