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5 takeaways from the Lakers' Game 5 loss to the Heat

By Tania Ganguli, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

ORLANDO, Fla. - There is part of a speech by Theodore Roosevelt that resonates with LeBron James. In it, Roosevelt speaks of the "man in the arena," the one who does the work, who risks failure and who is more worthy than the "critic."

James has written the phrase on his shoes and has a shoe whose design includes phrases from the speech.

A day before the Los Angeles Lakers faced the Miami Heat on Friday night in what could have been the clinching game for the Lakers' 17th championship, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra referenced the speech during a media session.

"I know the character of our group, and we are still very much committed to what our purpose is and look forward to the competition tomorrow," Spoelstra said. "Whatever the storylines that are out there, we don't care. Our guys are the ones who are out there in the arena marred by dust, blood, sweat and tears.

"Our guys are the ones out there. Twenty-eight other teams aren't out there. Everybody else is basically on their comfortable couches spectating on this one. Our guys are the ones that are in the arena, and that's right where they are meant to be."

Later in the same news conference, Spoelstra said it again.

"We are here for a purpose," he said. "We are trying to compete for a title. That has not changed. And our players, our guys are the ones in this arena, marred by sweat, tears, blood. And that's right where they are meant to be."

It's unclear if that was a reference directed at James, but that idea seems to have been motivating for the Heat.

 

Here are five takeaways from the Lakers' 111-108 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 5.

1. The Lakers committed six turnovers in the fourth quarter, four of which came during the first three minutes. The sixth, of course, sealed the game. Several players talked about the necessity to understand how much the Heat can capitalize on mistakes by the Lakers, and they gave them several opportunities during that period. "When you turn the ball over, you don't get shots at the basket," Alex Caruso said. "If we take a couple of those out, maybe we have two, four more points and win the game."

2. The Lakers did not get much out of their bench on Friday, with only 14 points between the four reserves who played, and all of them with negative plus/minus ratings. Kyle Kuzma scored the most of the group - seven points - but missed all four of his three-point attempts and had a rating of minus 17. Miami made things more difficult on Kuzma with their defensive pressure than they had been in previous games.

3. Once again, the Heat were without starter Goran Dragic, who is recovering from a torn plantar fascia. The veteran point guard suffered the injury in Game 1 and hasn't played since. The Heat have gotten healthier since the beginning of the series with the return of center Bam Adebayo, who played 38 minutes on Friday.

4. Miami had its best three-point shooting performance in Game 5, making 42% of their shots from deep. Duncan Robinson was a big part of that, making seven of 13 threes. "It was similar looks," Robinson said of his elevated performance. "I thought I was a little more persistent tonight getting to the ball and getting to my spots. That helped. And it helps to see some fall in. That helped build confidence more."

5. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope continued to be an important contributor for the Lakers. He was their third leading scorer on Friday with 16 points and made a three-pointer that gave the Lakers a late lead.

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