Heat beats Lakers 101-95 for 6th straight victory
Kobe Bryant viewed playing the Miami Heat on Christmas Day as a
measuring stick of how well his Achilles tendon was holding up.
That was before he fractured his left knee.
Bryant’s second major injury of the season kept him out of
Wednesday’s game, a 101-95 loss in which the Lakers were
competitive until the final 8 1/2 minutes.
Tied 83-all, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James took control for the
Heat, who outscored the Lakers 20-12 to close out their sixth
straight victory and improve to 5-0 against Los Angeles on the
”We’re not better than we were last year, but it’s only
December,” said James, who scored 19 points. ”I believe we can be
better than the team that won in June. This is a process. We don’t
want to play championship ball right now.”
Chris Bosh and Wade led Miami with 23 points apiece. Bosh had 11
rebounds and Ray Allen made four 3-pointers for 12 points for the
defending NBA champions.
”You have to make shots, you have to execute,” James said.
”We did a little bit of both.”
The teams meet again in Miami on Jan. 23. Bryant isn’t expected
to play then either. He’s out four to six weeks because of his
Before his latest injury, Bryant missed nearly eight months
while recovering from a torn Achilles tendon. He played his first
game on Dec. 8, then got hurt again on Dec. 17 at Memphis.
”It’s just been slow in terms of laying off it and letting it
heal,” Bryant said before the game. ”When you don’t have
activity, you got to watch the other parts like nutrition.”
Typical of Bryant’s attention to detail, he said he has been
reading critical comments that suggest he won’t return this
”It’s the same old tune, just being sung a little more loudly
now,” he said. ”These type of things just help me lock in
Asked if there’s any chance he won’t be back, Bryant replied,
”Not that I’m aware of.”
James said, ”When he comes back he’s going to play at a high
The injury left Bryant unable to extend his NBA record for
Christmas Day appearances to 16.
”It’s not as special when Kobe’s not out there,” said James,
who shared a postgame hug with Bryant.
Streaky reserve Nick Young scored 20 points for the Lakers, who
were tied four times in the fourth quarter. Jodie Meeks added 17
points, Xavier Henry had 14 and Pau Gasol added 13 points and 13
Miami shot 51 percent from the field while improving to 7-0
against the Western Conference this season. It was its 19th
straight win overall against West opponents.
Bosh scored 13 of his 23 points in the first half, when Miami
trailed 27-21 after the first quarter.
”I just made an effort to get to the basket a little more,” he
said. ”We just kept wearing on them offensively. They made some
Los Angeles shot 42 percent in its third straight loss. The
Lakers were 14 of 36 from 3-point range as they tried to go over
the top to beat the Heat’s rugged interior.
”Teams will try to get us moving and play out of our
rotations,” Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said. ”Early on they were
getting some wide-open ones. Some of those Nick Young hit were
Jordan Farmar returned from a left hamstring tear after missing
10 games, giving the Lakers a true point guard to run the offense.
But he was ineffective, with three points and two assists in 32
”I hadn’t even played 5-on-5 since I got hurt, so this is the
first time I’ve actually played basketball,” he said.
”Health-wise, everything stayed intact and I felt good out there,
so it’s progress.”
The Lakers played a competitive game against the loaded Heat
despite their poor shooting and the absence of Bryant, Steve Nash
(nerve root irritation) and Steve Blake (right elbow). They led by
10 points and never trailed by more than that.
”I thought we attacked them the way we wanted to,” Lakers
coach Mike D’Antoni said. ”We can step it up a bit and be a little
bit tougher, especially on the boards and places like that. Those
things are irritating, but the effort is good.”
Young’s basket tied the game for the last time at 83-all. The
Heat promptly took off on a 13-5 run. Wade, Norris Cole and James
scored all of the Heat’s points.
Young answered with his fourth 3-pointer of the game and Meeks
made 1 of 2 free throws to pull the Lakers to 96-92 with 1:26 to
play. But Wade had an acrobatic reverse layup and James made two
foul shots to give Miami some breathing room.