The Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Miami Heat 110-104 this Thursday night in a reissue of last season’s Finals, where the Angelenos were crowned champions. Andre Drummond, who was just signed by the Lakers a couple of weeks ago, was injured on the day of his debut wearing the purple and gold jersey. After three games out, Drummond returned to the court this Thursday.
“We just want Andre (Drummond) to be able to be himself, to feel comfortable with our game system, as simple as that. Let him dominate the board, play in the post sometimes and try to execute the coverage that we have with our defense, using his talent blocking shots and playing good basketball, “said Lakers coach Frank Vogel about what he expects from Drummond’s role in the team.
Drummond suffered a right toe injury on March 31 in the Lakers game against the Milwaukee Bucks; his first with Lakers. The center from the Cleveland Cavaliers could only play 14 minutes in that game, before the injury caused by a stomp. Because of it, Drummond lost his toenail. Against Miami, Andre was able to have his first complete game with the Lakers and contributed double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
“I felt good, there was a bit of pain, but nothing that’s going to stop me,” Andre said after playing for 27 minutes.
In addition to the losses of their stars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers were without Kyle Kuzma, due to a left calf injury, and Talen Horton-Tucker who was suspended one game, due to an altercation that arose last game against Toronto Raptors.
“I am proud of the struggle, the effort and the belief that there was in each other that we could beat this team (Miami), despite the absences. Our players competed, but it wasn’t good enough. Our players committed a lot of fouls and we lost the ball too much. They are the two areas in which you end up getting your foot, we must improve in those two aspects, “said coach Vogel.
Although the Lakers starting five finished in double digits, the Angelenos delivered the ball 22 times, resulting in 33 points for Miami. In addition, they were sent to the free throw line 32 times.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has had to bring out the breed for the team and be more aggressive on offense to try to make up for the losses. For this match, Vogel asked him to score 25 points and finished with 28.
“The fact that the coach challenges me I think has helped my game a lot,” said Caldwell-Pope after his 28 points, 4 rebounds and one assist, with six triples made.
Ben McLemore, the latest addition to the Lakers, made his debut against the Heat. He played 17 minutes, scoring six units.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis were supporting the group from the bench in Miami. LeBron James shared a photo on social media where he posed with Davis and Drummond, which could be interpreted as a welcome to Drummond as that third star of the team.
“It is without a doubt a great feeling to have the respect of these great players and of the whole team actually. Reaching this group has been incredible, I am enjoying it, learning and there is no better place to be, ”shared Drummond.
Lakers had their second game in the current five-game road trip, they are 1-1 this trip after the win against the Raptors and the loss against Miami. His next commitment will be on Saturday, in a tough duel against the leaders of the Eastern Conference, the Brooklyn Nets.