LOS ANGELES — It’s been a season-long struggle for the Lakers to put together a full game. It happened again Sunday.

They were sluggish in the first half but bounced back with abandon down the stretch before running into a familiar result — another loss.

What You Need To Know

  • The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Miami Heat on Sunday, 113-107

  • LeBron James had 33 points and now has at least 25 points in 17 consecutive games

  • Russell Westbrook also had an efficient game, finishing with 24 points on crisp 9-for-15 shooting

  • Up next: The Lakers travel to Brooklyn where they will face the Nets on Tuesday, Jan. 25

The Miami Heat beat them this time, 113-107, pushing the Lakers below .500 yet again.

This might sound familiar, but their defense was far too generous in the first half. Miami led by 26 in the second quarter and sprinted to a 69-52 halftime lead.

Then a funny thing happened on the way to a lopsided loss. It wasn’t so lopsided all of a sudden.

The Lakers scored 37 points in the fourth quarter and trimmed the Heat lead to four when LeBron James scored off an offensive rebound with 1:07 to play.

But the Lakers turned over the ball when Avery Bradley was called for a moving screen. Then Talen Horton-Tucker committed a turnover on an inbounds play. Game over.

“We just started off a little too slow. Picked it up a little too late,” Russell Westbrook said.

The first part of Westbrook’s quote could also summarize the first half of the Lakers’ season. They can only hope they don’t pick it up a little too late between now and the April 10 regular-season finale.

There was optimism before the game that Anthony Davis would return from a five-week absence because of a sprained knee. The Lakers even upgraded him from “out” to “questionable” the day before tip-off.

Davis went through a pre-game workout but didn’t suit up as the Lakers fell to 7-10 since he went down Dec. 17.

“Not ready yet but getting closer,” Lakers Coach Frank Vogel said.

The Lakers didn’t look ready to play Sunday. Not at first.

Even though the Lakers went without Davis, you could say Miami was the more short-handed team. Kyle Lowry sat out because of personal reasons and Tyler Herro was sidelined because of the NBA’s COVID-19 guidelines.

The Heat (30-17) still had Jimmy Butler, who slid over from forward to point guard and finished with 20 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.

They also had Duncan Robinson, a three-point specialist who signed a $90-million contract during the off-season. He scored 25 points and made six three-pointers.

“We just had a few too many breakdowns and they made us pay for it,” Vogel said.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Lakers, who fell to 23-24.

James had 33 points and continued his torrid scoring streak. He has at least 25 points in 17 consecutive games. Only two other players have done that in Lakers history — Kobe Bryant and Elgin Baylor.

Westbrook also had an efficient game, finishing with 24 points on crisp 9-for-15 shooting. He added nine rebounds and nine assists with only three turnovers.

The Lakers continue a six-game trip with a trio of tough road games — Brooklyn, Philadelphia and Charlotte — before ending it next Sunday in Atlanta.


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