In the end, all Dwyane Wade could do was watch and shake his head.
Wade and Kobe Bryant had gone at each other in the fourth quarter, the Miami Heat guard getting the best for a while.
But Bryant made a three-pointer that banked in off the backboard as time expired over the outstretched hands of Wade, giving the Lakers a 108-107 victory over the Heat on Friday night at Staples Center.
“We did what we were supposed to do,” Wade said of Bryant. “He hit an unbelievable shot.”
Wade had 21 of his 26 points in the second half.
He had seven rebounds and nine assists.
But Wade was just seven for 21 from the field. Worse, he was 12 for 18 from the free-throw line.
That turned out to be a big problem for Wade.
He stepped to the free-throw line for two free throws with the Heat leading, 106-105.
Wade missed his first free throw, but made the second with 3.2 seconds left.
That was all Bryant needed.
Wade’s numbers are down nearly across the board this season.
He was averaging 26.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.9 steals entering Friday night’s game. He was shooting just 42.7% from the field.
Now compare that with last season, when Wade led the NBA in scoring.
He averaged 30.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 2.2 steals. He shot 49.1% from the field.
Wade’s shooting woes were evident against the Lakers.
He missed a ton of shots, some of it because of Bryant’s defense.
Wade missed his first six shots.
He didn’t score until his first field goal with 2:04 left in the first quarter, on a dunk.
His second field goal in the second quarter was on a two-handed dunk.
Wade was good on defense. He blocked two shots, one by Pau Gasol.
Before the game, the Lakers knew that Wade would be a handful no matter how bad his numbers had been.
He started slow, scoring just six points in the first half.
Wade had eight points in the third.
He had 12 in the fourth, a big reason why the Heat made the game close and had a chance to win the game.
“He’s a master at using the screen-and-roll,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. “He’s very effective getting to the line; he gets to the [free-throw] line a lot. You just have to protect the paint against him and make him shoot shots.”