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After All-Star Miami Heat swingman Jimmy Butler left the game with a sprained right ankle in the second quarter, never to return, the playing field was more or less leveled for the new-look Miami's first game against your new-look Los Angeles Lakers. Los Angeles, of course, is still missing All-Star forward LeBron James, out with an abdominal strain for the fourth straight game. 

Eventually, the Lakers ground out their second straight Staples Center overtime victory against a tough Eastern Conference foe on Wednesday night, winning 120-117 to move to a 7-5 record on the season. The Heat fell to 7-4.

So how'd they do it? With a lot of help from two of the usual suspects, plus one role player who has been on a steady ascent lately.

Malik Monk's Breakout Game

Let's get to that role player. Monk had his best game in a Laker uniform last night, going a whopping 10-of-13 from the field (!) to score 27 points, while also logging six rebounds and three dimes. In 34:33 of action, Monk was a +12 for LA.

The offensive outpouring marked a third straight double-digit scoring night for Monk, who has seen an uptick in touches thanks to the injury absences of several perimeter Lakers.

"Bron said it before, I've said it... We call him Microwave," Anthony Davis reflected on the combo guard. "Instant scorer. We still don't know how we got him for what we got him for. He can play."

And Monk scored from everywhere, not just beyond the arc. He took and nailed tough midrange floaters through aggressive Heat coverage:

Let's look at that again, but from another angle and in slow-motion this time:

This guy's pretty good.

The Lakers signed Monk, the 11th pick in the 2017 draft out of Kentucky by the Charlotte Hornets, to a veteran's minimum contract this summer, something of a steal even at the time. His defensive lapses have at times overshadowed his offensive promise and compelled Lakers coach Frank Vogel to limit his minutes, but pressed into action tonight against one of the NBA's best defenses, Monk delivered, and then some.

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Russell Westbrook's Midrange Game

Russell Westbrook put up his third triple-double of the season. Some of the best and worst of Brodie was on full display last night. Across 43 grueling minutes, he scored 25 points on 10-of-22 shooting, dished out 14 assists, and pulled down 12 rebounds.

But he also was on quadruple-double watch during the fourth quarter and overtime periods, finishing the evening with eight turnovers, including this gem:

If sneaking a lowlight into a list of highlights seems petty, well, who am I to disagree?

Anyway. Beyond the typical frustrating turnovers and head-scratching three-point looks (he actually went 3-of-7 from deep, but that final fourth quarter attempt was such a poor choice it felt like 1-of-10), Westbrook impressed with some tacit midrange greatness in the fourth quarter.

The highlight? A 14-foot turnaround one-legged jumper to tie the game, 112-112, with 27.4 remaining in regulation.

After the Heat whiffed on their next possession, Westbrook then proceeded to dribble out the clock before forcing up a brutal off-balance three-point look that never had a chance and letting the game slip into overtime. But his exquisite decision-making from the midrange helped LA get that far, after the team fell behind 106-97 with 4:45 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Lakers closed out the frame on a 15-6 run, with Westbrook scoring or contributing to five of the team's buckets. He had 10 points and six assists in the period.

Finding Shooters

All-Star Heat center Bam Adebayo knew he had a tall task ahead of him in covering All-Star Lakers big man Anthony Davis last night, and so the Heat made a concerted effort to help him shoulder the burden. AD capitalized on his increased coverage by looking for available jump shooters. 

Davis still stuffed the stat sheet, logging a line of 24 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists.

Westbrook, too, for the most part tried to curtail his hero ball instincts (not all the time, unfortunately) and make smart passes when confronted by collapsing defenses in the paint.

The Lakers spread the wealth on offense last night. Six players scored in double figures. Guard Avery Bradley took advantage of his 12 field goal looks by icing half of them, ultimately scoring 17 points. Future Hall of Fame forward Carmelo Anthony cooled down a bit after a scorching start to his Staples Center tenure, but he still poured in 12 points on a respectable 5-of-12 shooting from the floor. In his fourth game of the season, guard Wayne Ellington also put up 12 points.

As a team, the Lakers enjoyed an impressive night from long range compared to the Heat. LA went 18-of-38 from deep for a sparkling 47.4% three-point percentage. The Heat, meanwhile, shot just 10-of-37 (27%) from beyond the arc.