In the first quarter, the story of the game was the Heat’s free throw advantage. They were given 18 attempts in the first quarter alone. Meanwhile, the Lakers made a trip to the free throw line only once in the latter part of the first quarter.
LAL’s first FTA came with 54.3 seconds left in the 1st Q and the Lakers trailing by 6 after a make from McLemore, his first point as a Laker.
Miami countered with 2 more FT’s from Dragic, to reach 18 attempts in the quarter, of which they made 16.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) April 9, 2021
Despite the free throw advantage, a good sign for the Lakers is that their starting center Andre Drummond is back on the floor against the Heat after sitting out two games due to injury. So far, Drummond has shown glimpses of what he can do inside the paint, his ability to pass and on defense. Overall, it was a telling first quarter for the Lakers, who were able to hang along with a completely healthy Heat team.
Drummond is back 🙌
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) April 8, 2021
The Lakers are clearly shorthanded against the Heat without LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma. They need as much scoring as they can and so they’ll be depending on Dennis Schroder, Wesley Matthews, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell Pope and hopefully Drummond to get the team some buckets.
The defending champions — who beat the Heat for the NBA title last October — need as many wins as they can get while their superstars remain are out to avoid the play-in tournament this May.
As for the Heat, they currently stand in position for the sixth seed of the Eastern Conference standings.
It’s a good sight for Heat fans to see their team healthy after starting the season slow due to injuries and covid restrictions. It makes sense as to why both teams have dealt with injuries this season—they are in fact coming off the shortest off season in sports history.