The Los Angeles Lakers, behind Kyle Kuzma and LeBron James, spoiled Dwyane Wade’s final visit to the Staples Center.
Monday night was a special one for the Los Angeles Lakers, namely LeBron James. Often times out of conference games in December don’t garner much attention. Tonight, that was not the case when the Miami Heat visited the Staples Center.
Tonight’s game had a different feel because it was the final time that Dwyane Wade would grace the Staples Center with his presence.
Wade announced that he would be retiring following this season, and tonight’s game marked the final time he would not only be visiting the Staples Center, as the Heat played the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday but the final matchup between Wade and his good friend, LeBron James.
In classic Wade fashion, he did everything he could to get his team a victory. However, James would not be outdone, eventually pushing his Lakers to a win over the Heat, 108-105. With the victory, James broke the tie between the two, as James has won 16 games compared to 15 for Wade in their head-to-head matchup.
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Wade finished the game with 15 points on 6-of-19 from the field, including 0-for-7 from distance. He added 10 assists, five rebounds, one steal and one block.
The star of the game for the Heat was actually Justise Winslow. Winslow has not lived up to the hype after being the No. 10 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. This season, his numbers are down, again, across the board, but he brought it tonight against the Lakers.
Winslow poured in a career-high 28 points, knocking down a career-high six 3-pointers. Overall, he shot 11-of-20 from the field, adding seven rebounds and two assists. Winslow has had one of the best stretches of his career recently, scoring at least 20 points with six rebounds in three consecutive games.
As always, James was a driving force for the Lakers getting the victory. He almost triple-doubled again, scoring an efficient 28 points on 10-of-19 from the field, including 4-of-7 from the 3-point line. He also added 12 assists, nine rebounds and one steal. The only blemish on the night for James was the foul line, where he was 4-of-8.
The leading scorer for Los Angeles was actually Kyle Kuzma. Kuzma benefitted multiple times from great passes from James, pouring in a game-high 33 points. He shot 14-of-22 from the field, including 3-of-7 from deep and 2-of-2 from the foul line. He added seven rebounds and one assist.
James and Kuzma carried the offensive load for Los Angeles tonight, scoring more than half of the team’s points. Lonzo Ball and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were the only other players in double figures, with 10 and 11 points respectively.
The bench didn’t have their normal impact, as every player finished the game with a negative plus/minus ratio. There were some periodic bright spots, but not the normal amount we have come accustomed to seeing.
With the victory, the Lakers record moves to 17-10 on the season, 11-4 at the Staples Center. They will now embark on a four-game road trip that begins with a visit to the Houston Rockets.
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