Five takeaways from the Miami Heat’s 127-100 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers' Lou Williams shoots under pressure from the Miami Heat's James Johnson (16) in the first quarter on Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

The Los Angeles Lakers’ Lou Williams shoots under pressure from the Miami Heat’s James Johnson (16) in the first quarter on Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

LOS ANGELES — After the Heat’s blowout loss to the 14-26 Lakers, Erik Spoelstra didn’t take out his frustration on his team.

He pointed that frustration at the officials after Goran Dragic was ejected for just the second time in his NBA career for his role in a scuffle with Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson with 5:29 remaining in the third quarter.

“It’s really shameful, disgraceful that Goran Dragic got thrown out of that game,” Spoelstra said. “Gets an elbow to his face, somebody that wants to fight, knocks him down on the ground and just a bailout, shameful, disgraceful ejection. There’s no way he should be thrown out in that situation for just taking an elbow to the face and getting up. Not even necessarily defending himself. Just getting up.”

The ejection kept Dragic from helping the Heat late in the game, as the Lakers went on to defeat the Heat 127-100 on Friday at the Staples Center.

It looked like the Lakers initiated the scuffle on the replay with Clarkson shoving Dragic under the basket. Dragic left the locker room without speaking to the media after the game.

“Who knows. Who cares,” Spoesltra said when asked if he received an explanation for the ejection.” We’ll probably have a report tomorrow. Whatever. You can look at it over and over. He’s just taking a two-handed shove to the chin and he gets ejected for that. None of us get it. None of us understand it. And I can care less about hearing any kind of explanation about it tomorrow.”

Miami (11-27) is now 1-2 on its six-game road trip. The Heat will stay in Los Angeles to take on the Clippers on Sunday afternoon.

Former Heat forward Luol Deng hurt his former team, finishing with 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers.

Here are our five takeaways from the game …

1. The third-quarter scuffle hurt the Heat: It was the Heat that came away from the incident as the big losers. After Jordan Clarkson shoved Goran Dragic, the Heat point guard charged toward him before players from both teams separated the two. Both were ejected. But considering that Dragic leads the Heat in scoring with 19 points per game, the scuffle especially hurt Miami. Dragic scored 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting before being ejected. Miami was already trailing by eight points when the scuffled occurred, and the Lakers outscored the Heat 51-32 after the incident.

“It’s an eight-point game and we pretty much let it go from there,” Spoelstra said. “‘I don’t know if it would have made a difference, but he is our best player. Having him go down with us down the stretch, it’s probably a possession game.”

2. Where’s the rim protection?: It was on the bench Friday night. Miami gave up a season-high 68 points in the paint in its loss to the Lakers. Los Angeles outscored Miami 68-48 in the paint. This is where the Heat miss Hassan Whiteside the most. Miami has been outscored 206-138 in the paint over Whiteside’s four-game absence. Although backup center Willie Reed has shined offensively in Whiteside’s place, he’s had some struggles on the defensive end. Entering Friday’s game, players were shooting 51.3 percent — 4.2 percent better than their usual field goal percentage — when defended by Reed this season. By comparison, players are shooting 46.8 percent when defended by Whiteside.

“They just had more want to than us tonight,” James Johnson said of the Heat’s poor paint defense Friday.

3. James Johnson is a reliable 3-point shooter: You haven’t been able to say that for most of James Johnson’s NBA career. He entered the season as a career 26.6 percent 3-point shooter. The most threes Johnson has made in a single season is 22 in 2013-14 and the best he’s shot from 3-point range is 32.6 percent in 2009-10. But that was all before this season. It looks like the 29-year-old Johnson will set new career highs in all those areas this year. Johnson has already made 44 threes and is shooting  39.6 percent from 3-point range this season. He made 4-of-7 threes Friday night. That’s pretty impressive for a power forward who stands at 6-foot-9, 250 pounds.

“I’ve been working,” Johnson said of his improved 3-point shooting. “Working on other teams even though I wasn’t getting the opportunity to take those jumpers, I was still working on my game and I’ve been working at it during the summer time. Like I said, you get a little bit of confidence, that’s the majority of the jump shot.”

4. Heat’s starting lineup isn’t their best lineup: The Heat began Friday’s game with a starting lineup of Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson, Rodney McGruder, Luke Babbitt and Willie Reed. That lineup played the first 2:46 of the game together before Erik Spoelstra subbed out McGruder and Babbitt for Tyler Johnson and James Johnson with the Lakers ahead 10-0. And then the Heat started to work their way back into the game. The Lakers outscored the Heat by 22 points with McGruder on the court and by 16 points with Babbitt on the court. Spoelstra usually opens the second half with his starting lineup, but even he made a change Friday night. Wayne Ellington started the second half for Miami in McGruder’s place.

5. Hassan Whiteside will be back soon: The Heat’s $98 million center missed his fourth consecutive game with a right retinal contusion Friday. But Hassan Whiteside did rejoin the team in Los Angeles on Friday after staying back in Miami for the first two games of the six-game trip in Phoenix and Sacramento because he was not cleared to fly due to the eye injury. That’s progress. And Whiteside is hopeful he will return Sunday against the Clippers without goggles. That’s more progress. Although the Heat have missed Whiteside, reserve center Willie Reed has been impressive in his place during this four-game stretch. Reed put together another solid performance Friday with 22 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. At least the Heat know they have a quality backup center now.

[Hassan Whiteside rejoins Heat in Los Angeles after eye injury]

[Heat to apply for $1.3 million disabled player exception for Justise Winslow’s injury]

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