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Lakers, minus LeBron James, squeeze past Heat

Jan 4, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin (16) shoots against Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) during the first half at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Dennis Schroder scored a season-high 32 points and Russell Westbrook added 21 points, nine assists and eight rebounds as the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers earned a 112-109 victory over the visiting Miami Heat on Wednesday.

Thomas Bryant had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who were without LeBron James (illness) and Lonnie Walker IV (left knee soreness). Those absences were in addition to Anthony Davis, who is out indefinitely due to a stress reaction in his right foot.

The Lakers won for the fourth time in their past five games and pulled off the victory without James, who had put up a total of 90 points in the previous two victories.

Bam Adebayo scored 30 points and pulled down 13 rebounds and Jimmy Butler added 27 points for the Heat, who entered with four victories in their previous five games. Miami had been 8-3 since Dec. 12, including a 112-98 home victory over the Lakers on Dec. 28.

Victor Oladipo had 12 points for the Heat, while Kyle Lowry had 11.

Despite being undermanned, the Lakers got off to a hot start, leading 32-23 after one quarter and holding a 52-48 advantage at halftime. The Lakers shot 47.5 percent from the field in the opening half but already had 12 turnovers, with seven of those from Westbrook.

The Heat led by as many as three points late in the third quarter before the Lakers pulled back in front 79-78 heading into the final period.

The Heat went on top 89-83 on a 3-pointer by Tyler Herro with 8:09 remaining.

The Lakers, trailing 90-87 with 5:57 remaining, went on a 7-0 run to take a four-point advantage, with Schroder scoring five of the points. Bryant’s three-point play gave Los Angeles a 97-92 edge with 3:46 remaining.

The Heat pulled within 104-103 with one minute remaining on a put-back by Adebayo, but Schroder scored six points in the final 43.1 seconds.

Schroder made two free throws with three seconds remaining for a three-point lead, and Butler missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

The Lakers had just five second-half turnovers, none from Westbrook.

–Field Level Media