The Miami Heat viewed their seven-game, West Coast road trip as a chance to build team chemistry and improve.
So far, that's been the case. The Heat knocked off the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers 96-94 Saturday at Staples Center. Miami is now 3-3 on the trip that ends Monday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“You can tell that the chemistry is building,” guard Kendrick Nunn said. “We’ve been together for a week and a half, and it just gives us more of a feel for each other. We’re moving in the right direction now. We dropped a couple early, but we’re starting to give ourselves the best chance at the end of the game.”
Nunn led the Heat with 27 points, including five 3-pointers, in a rematch of last year's NBA Finals. The Heat lost to the Lakers in six games. Forward Jimmy Butler added 24 points and eight rebounds and center Bam Adebayo had 16 points and rebounds. Adebayo also recorded a highlight-reel block on Lakers star LeBron James, who finished with 19 points, nine assists and nine rebounds. The Lakers were once again playing without injured starters Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder.
Still, the Heat will take whatever positive they can after a slow start to the season.
“We’re seeing progress the last few weeks,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I think our defensive mental toughness was better in this game to get some stops when we weren’t able to knock down some shots in the fourth quarter.”
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