Fresh off a tough overtime win against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday, in came the Miami Heat, a team that gave the Los Angeles Lakers all they could handle.
Malik Monk scored a season-high 27 points, including making a go-ahead 3-foot driving floating jump shot with 2:16 remaining in overtime and the Lakers grinded out a 120-117 win over the Heat on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
“This group is being pushed and they’re responding,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “We believe we’re going to do special things, so it was a great response the last two games.”
Russell Westbrook had 25 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds, recording his second consecutive triple double for the Lakers, while Monk made four three-pointers off the bench and led the team in scoring.
Anthony Davis had 24 points and 13 rebounds for Los Angeles and improved to 2-2 while LeBron James is sidelined by an abdominal muscle strain. Avery Bradley added 17 points with a season-high five three-pointers for the Lakers.
“I had this role a couple of times in Charlotte when a lot of guys got hurt,” said Monk following the win. “I had to come in, play big minutes and facilitate and do all the things I normally don’t do.
“I work on my game a lot,” Monk added. “So, I was really prepared for this moment. I’m trying to kill everyone in front of me.”
Monk made 10 of 13 shots on the night and instantly gave the Lakers a spark from the perimeter, making contested jumpers and attacking the center of the Heat’s defense.
“We call him Microwave. Instant scorer. We still don’t know how we got him for what we got him for,” said Davis on the Lakers signing Monk for a bargain.
Miami lost their star wing in Jimmy Butler due to a sprained right ankle in the first quarter and was unable to return for the rest of the game, finishing with only seven points.
Bam Adebayo led the Heat with 28 points before fouling out and Kyle Lowry had 18 points and 11 assists. Tyler Herro finished with 27 points off the bench, making 5 of 8 shots from long distance, but missed two pivotal threes in the closing nine seconds of overtime.
“I thought we were still getting some good looks and reads, and I think there was a couple of times we could have extended that (fourth-quarter lead),” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “A five-point swing really fast just gave them a little bit of life, and they made shots.”
One of Herro’s misses came with 23 seconds left in regulation, but in came P.J. Tucker, who slammed home the tying rebound dunk. Westbrook then missed the potential game-winning three-pointer and Davis was unable to convert a tip-in at the buzzer, resulting in extra play for Los Angeles in back-to-back games.
“It was just a wild game from start to finish,” Adebayo said.
In overtime, the Lakers were able to grasp a five-point lead only before Adebayo cut their deficit to 119-117 with 23 seconds left before fouling out.
Los Angeles then committed a five second violation, giving Miami another chance but Herro was unable to make the three with 4.2 seconds remaining, enabling the Lakers to hold on for a thrilling 120-117 win.
“It was a great fight… We just gutted out a tough win,” Vogel said.
The Lakers will continue their five-game homestand hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night, followed by facing the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday and the Chicago Bulls on Monday at Staples Center.