Game Report: Heat defeat Lakers 107-97

Craig Lawson

Craig Lawson is a Canadian who works during the day and enjoys writing about basketball at night (from the comfort of his wifi-equipped igloo). You can read all his posts at www.steve-nash-chronicles.com, and follow him on twitter @stevenashchroni.

The Lakers played evenly with the Heat for a long time, but lost the game on the final play of the third quarter.

With 6.2 seconds remaining in the third and the Heat up by two, LeBron James missed a free throw, but the Heat grabbed the rebound and James nailed a three-pointer. Had the Lakers instead grabbed the rebound and nailed a three pointer, it would have been a six-point swing to close out the quarter….

It was a tough blow for the Lakers, but it’s hard to have too much sympathy for them – they were outrebounded 38-29 today by the league’s worst rebounding team. kobe-bryant-ray-allen

The other story of the game was turnovers. A key reason the Lakers were able to keep the game close for so long was that they turned the ball over only seven times through three quarters, but coughed it up an additional seven times in the fourth quarter alone.

The Heat had no fourth quarter turnovers.

I don’t usually like to dedicate too much of this space to the opponent’s players, but LeBron James (32 points) and Dwyane Wade (30 points) each shot 12 of 18 (67%) from the field.

I’m not saying they shot a combined 12 of 18 – like Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Jodie Meeks and Steve Blake did – I’m saying two players on the same team each shot 12 of 18…. I don’t have a direct line into the Elias Sports Bureau, but I’m feeling quite confident that doesn’t happen very often.

The Lakers were led today by Kobe Bryant, who had 28 points (11-19 FG, 6-8 FT), nine assists and six rebounds. Earl Clark had 18 points (8-17 FG, 1-1 FT), and Dwight Howard (6-9 FG, 3-5 FT) and Steve Nash (3-5 FG, 8-8 FT) each scored 15.

Antawn Jamison had his first poor offensive game in a while, scoring just three points (1-5 FG, 1-2 FT) in 25 minutes of play.

Metta World Peace, on the other hand, had his seventh consecutive poor offensive game – nine points on 3 of 11 shooting – in what has been a brutal stretch for him. Over his last seven games, he has shot 22-82 on FGs (27%), 8-37 on 3PTs (22%), and 5-9 on FTs (56%). Ouch.

Unlike Friday in Charlotte, however, today’s game was not a must-win for the Lakers. They were not expected to beat the defending champions on the final game of a seven-game road trip, and fans can take some solace from the Lakers having kept the game close for as long as they did.

Three Lakers passed career milestones in today’s game:

  • Kobe Bryant moved past Larry Bird and into 34th place in career assists, with 5,698.
  • Dwight Howard moved past Dale Davis and into 52nd place in career rebounds, with 8,611.
  • Steve Nash moved past Jason Terry and into 80th place in career points, with 16,993 – of course, Terry is still very much active, and could pass Nash later today!

The Lakers finished their extended road trip with a 4-3 record – if it were not for that terribly disappointing loss to the Phoenix Suns to start the trip, it could have been a very satisfying trip even with today’s loss.

The Lakers get a chance to make amends at home on Tuesday, when they host those same Suns.

Lakers’ Player of the Game

Kobe Bryant was the Lakers’ Player of the Game today. He scored a team-high 28 points on very efficient 11 of 19 shooting (58%), dished out a team high nine assists (against four turnovers), and grabbed six rebounds.

Passing Larry Bird in career assists was a nice touch for Lakers’ fan, too.

Tonight’s Top Two Tweets in my Twitter Feed

“Quality game from the Lakers – better game from the Heat.” – @EricPincus, post-game tweet

“The Lakers put up a fight and were in it until the fourth quarter. When we meet them in the Finals, we’ll have @PauGasol back. :P” – @Lakerholicz, post-game tweet

Next Game

Tuesday, February 12 vs the Phoenix Suns, 7:30 p.m. PST

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