Los Angeles Lakers' Loss to Miami Heat Proves Competitiveness Even Without Kobe Bryant

By Ryan Heckman
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

On Christmas Day, most thought we weren’t going to get much of a game out of the Los Angeles Lakers against the Miami Heat. Having to play now for the next few weeks yet again without Kobe Bryant, the Lakers entered back into the mode of play they had previously been used to.

After the first quarter, the Heat looked a little flat and sloppy. The Lakers led 27-21, but the Heat came back to take a five point halftime lead in the second quarter. After battling back and forth in the third quarter, the Lakers pulled within two points to set up what would be a great fourth period.

Ultimately, the big three of the Heat were simply too much for Los Angeles. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined for 65 points to lead Miami to a 101-95 victory.

Los Angeles, though, can’t feel too bad about the loss. Without Bryant, they played an incredibly competitive game and shot the ball rather well, specifically from beyond the arc where they finished at 39 percent. The difference in this one was the Lakers’ free throw shooting. Los Angeles finished just 15-for-26 from the line, which crippled them in the end.

For the Lakers, Nick Young played a pretty solid game, finishing with 20 points. It took him 18 shots to get there, but from beyond the arc he knocked down four big shots. Along with Young, Jodie Meeks and Wesley Johnson each nailed four from long distance as well. The Lakers’ ability to score the three ball this season has been one of the brighter spots for them, and will continue to keep them in most games even without Bryant.

The struggle for Los Angeles is going to be the lack of a true point guard to direct the offense, resulting in so many spot up jump shots. This is a big reason for why they take so many three point shots to begin with. In this game, for example, the Lakers had 15 assists as a team compared to 29 for the Heat. There is clearly going to be a disparity between the Lakers and most opponents until they get the point guard position under control.

Though the Lakers lost this Christmas Day, this game should be a measuring stick for where they are at currently. Without Bryant, it’s going to be tough to win in the postseason — if they get there. But, Wednesday’s game should give them a boost of confidence going forward, knowing that they do have some things going for them that could result in a push for playoff position in the near future as they await the Mamba’s return.

Ryan Heckman is a Senior Writer for RantSports.comFollow him on Twitter  @ryanmheckman, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

Despite Bryant’s absence, the Lakers still proved to have a lot of fight in them and won’t back down from even the toughest of challenges. Click here for the best deals on Lakers tickets all season long.

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