LeBron James’s 39 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists helped the Miami Heat beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night at Staples Center.
One super team lost to another super team in an exciting game that showed the Lakers the difference between where their chemistry is and where it needs to be. Miami was far from perfect on the night, but the Lakers committed 16 turnovers in the first half. In contrast, Miami only committed six turnovers in the game, and that is probably a good indication of the difference between the Heat’s chemistry and the Lakers’ chemistry at the moment.
The Lakers played hard for 48 minutes, but too many mistakes combined with LeBron James and Dwayne Wade scoring 66 points on 28 of 45 shooting cost the Lakers the game. The Lakers’ defense held the Heat to under 100 points, but Kobe Bryant had a horrific shooting night for three quarters.
Through three quarters, the greatest offensive player since Michael Jordan was 3-16 from the field and 1-5 from behind the arc. Bryant had nine points, one rebound, one steal, and one assist. Entering the fourth quarter, Bryant had as many turnovers as the entire Heat team: six.
Did Kobe stop shooting? Is that even a question?
Kobe and LeBron took center stage in the final quarter, as they should. Kobe scored 13 points on 5-9 shooting to finish with 22 points on the night. LeBron scored 10 points on an efficient 4-5 fourth quarter and also added three assists down the stretch.
With two and a half minutes remaining, the score was tied at 90. LeBron took over. The Lakers never scored again, and LeBron either scored or assisted on the Heat’s final four field goals.
“We just got to smoothen out our offense, especially down the last four, five minutes and get a little better shots,” Lakers’ Head Coach Mike D’Antoni said after the game.
On Thursday night, the Lakers played well and fought hard. However, when the moment of truth arrived, the team proved it was not yet prepared to compete at a championship level.
“That’s a championship team,” D'Antoni said of the Heat.
Luckily, the calendar still says January and the finals don’t start until the calendar turns to June.
Unfortunately, the Lakers still need to earn a playoff seed before they can even attempt to make a run at a championship. Another loss and a 17-22 record certainly do not help that effort.