GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Miami Heat 25 27 25 21 98
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 20 17 19 31 87

Even ailing, James leads Heat past Lakers 98-87


Posted Jan 19 2012 10:49PM

MIAMI (AP) LeBron James shook off flu-like symptoms to score 31 points, Chris Bosh scored 15 and the Miami Heat won their second straight, topping the Los Angeles Lakers 98-87 on Thursday night.

Shane Battier scored 11 and Mario Chalmers finished with 10 for Miami. James was sent home from the team's shootaround practice earlier in the day to rest, and finished with eight rebounds and eight assists to go with 12 for 27 shooting.

Pau Gasol scored a season-high 26 for the Lakers, Kobe Bryant scored 24 and Andrew Bynum finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Miami moved to 5-0 this season without Dwyane Wade, who missed his second straight game with a sprained right ankle. He missed three games earlier this season with left foot soreness.

Bryant put together a great late run to attempt a comeback, banking in a 3-pointer and following that seconds later with a steal and transition dunk that got the Lakers within 94-84 with 2 minutes left. But Derek Fisher's 3-point try on the next Los Angeles possession hit the front of the rim, Udonis Haslem controlled the rebound and James made a 15-foot runner to seal the outcome.

It was the first time James had gone against his former coach in Cleveland, Lakers' boss Mike Brown. At the Lakers' shootaround practice Thursday afternoon Brown said he and James had not spoken in advance of this game and didn't know if they would - but James made sure they did, running over to the Los Angeles bench and grabbing his former coach for a long embrace and a few words.

Brown was asked before the game if going against James would bring out sentimental memories of their time in Cleveland together.

"I had a great time coaching LeBron," Brown said. "I wouldn't be in this suit if it wasn't for him."

James showed no signs of illness. In fact, he apparently felt good enough to take on two teams - the Lakers ... and the Miami Marlins. James' momentum carried him over the sideline across from the Lakers' bench in the first half, nearly knocking over none other than Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who escaped the collision with the 265-pound two-time MVP unscathed.

Loria spent most of the next few minutes laughing.

Meanwhile, the Lakers had very little to laugh about.

They shot 31 percent in the first half, their lowest output for any half this season. Bryant had as many field goals in the opening 24 minutes (one, on eight shots) as Heat forward Eddy Curry (1 for 1), who got his first NBA action since December 2009 when he checked in late in the first quarter for a 2 1/2-minute stint in which he made a basket, grabbed a rebound, was charged with a turnover and got a pair of loud ovations from a sellout crowd.

Curry returned for another stretch to start the fourth quarter, finishing his night with six points and three rebounds in six minutes. Curry said earlier Thursday that he lost about 65 pounds to get ready for his comeback, more than half of that since the start of Heat training camp in December.

"He gave us good minutes, good energy," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said during a televised in-game interview. "He's done a lot to get to this point. We're all very proud of him."

Miami's lead was 52-37 at the half, buoyed by eight 3-pointers - more than the Heat attempted in two December games - and a sizzling defensive start where the Lakers were forced into missing 18 of their first 24 shots. Over a 51-minute stretch going back to late in the first half of Tuesday's game against San Antonio, the Heat had outscored the Spurs and Lakers by a whopping 137-83 margin.

There was no second-half let-up, either. James scored nine points and Bosh was 4 for 4 from the floor in the third quarter, and even with the Lakers shooting 56 percent in the period Miami pushed its lead out to 77-56 entering the fourth.

NOTES: Bryant passed Bill Russell (40,726) for 21st on the league's all-time minutes played list. Next up: Michael Jordan (41,011). At his current pace, Bryant should become No. 5 on the NBA's career lists in points (passing Shaquille O'Neal) and free throws made (passing Jerry West) before the All-Star break. ... Ludacris was among the celebrities in the crowd. ... The Heat wore new all-black alternate uniforms, giving the Lakers the chance to wear their home gold on the road. ... Magic Johnson sat with Heat president Pat Riley for the second straight game. ... Gasol's previous season-best was 22. He hadn't scored 20 in any of his last nine games.

Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited

View More Photos

Points Gasol 26, 11-19 FG
Rebounds Bynum 12, 1 OFF 11 DEF
Assists Bryant 7
Steals Bryant 3
Blocks Bynum/Barnes 2


Mike Brown:

On the Miami Heat:

“They (Miami HEAT) were the aggressors on both ends of the floor, up until the last minutes of the game. We were aggressive in the last 6-7 minutes of the game. You can’t go through a forty-eight minute game against a team like this and allow them to be the aggressors for most of the night. So give those guys the credit for doing that.”

On the Lakers:

“Our weak side defense was not good, especially on the pick and rolls. We didn’t help our teammates like we have been doing.”

“We still don’t have a good feel on the offense in terms of second and third options. We are not quite there yet and against better defensive teams, it really shows. Right now, our second unit is struggling right now and we have a young point guard so we are all getting used to him being out on the floor.”

“We have to be able to play inside a little bit more. We are not a pick and roll team so we have to get a little bit of movement for Kobe Bryant and the rest of the team. We have to be on point offensively against a very good team like we faced tonight.”

On keeping the starters in the game:

“I wanted to see our guys fight. I didn’t care what the score was and the way these games are, sometimes you can’t worry about the next one. I wanted to leave them out there, see them fight, and they did. It is a confidence builder for me and them too.”

Pau Gasol:

On the game:

“They (Miami HEAT) played a better game than we (Los Angeles Lakers) did. They were more aggressive at times than we were. It’s always tough when you lose. This is a place that we wanted to come in and give a great effort in order to put ourselves in a position to win. It didn’t happen for us. We didn’t play well enough on either ends of the floor.”

On the road record:

“I think we (Los Angeles Lakers) definitely have to do a better job on the road. It’s still early in the year. We should be able to be more successful than we have been. We played tough teams for the most part.”

Derek Fisher:

On the game:

“We (Los Angeles Lakers) are getting really bogged down on the offensive end of the floor. It’s going to be tough to get back into defense every time. We’ll get there. We have to remain focused on our objectives and goals. You can’t play from behind on the road in a consistent basis. We’ve done that for the most part. We have to get off to better starts. We have to be sharp in our execution offensively. We have to understand our game-plan on the defensive end. We have to figure out how to win games on the road. We have to bring a sense of urgency and passion playing every game, no matter who it is. Tonight it was not there. We have to play basketball a certain way and we didn’t do that tonight. You have to give Miami (HEAT) a lot of credit for the way they played.”

Kobe Bryant:

On the game:

“We (Los Angeles Lakers) have to control the tempo and turnovers. Those things are certainly momentum shifts in a game. We tried to get something going. We cut it to 10. They (Miami HEAT) were the aggressors winning the hustle points and second-chance points. They played much harder than we did. We normally play hard. Tonight just wasn’t our night. They did a great job with hustle points, setting screens, and making defensive rotations. Andrew (Bynum) and Pau (Gasol) played extremely well, so the help will come. It’s a process and we have to stick to it. The offense is still under construction. We’re still working on the blueprints. It feels strange.”

On Shane Battier:

“I always give him (Shane Battier) credit. I always give him credit. He’s extremely intelligent, very smart. I always enjoy playing against him.”

Andrew Bynum:

On the game:

“We (Los Angeles Lakers) are not bringing it on the road. At times we played descent on offense and terrible on defense. At times we played descent on defense and terrible on offense. They (Miami HEAT) were making us swing the ball from one side to the other. They got a lot of turnovers. Offensively I just didn’t do enough.”

Erik Spoelstra

On the game:

“We came into the game knowing that it would be a power paint game on their [L.A. Lakers] part and that it would take some speed, activity and also some power on our part to fight that. They have tremendous size at the rim, they put you in very compromising positions. For us, we had to make sure we stayed to our identity to be active and disruptive even with [Kobe] Bryant roaming out there. For the most part we were able to impact the game with the activity against a very good basketball team. They’re a great rebounding team, they’re a great physical team and to hold them to four second chance points is a good sign for us defensively and competitively in the paint.”/p>

LeBron James:

On Shane Battier’s defense on Kobe Bryant:

“Kobe (Bryant) missed a lot of shots that he usually makes. Shane (Battier) just tried to make it a little harder on him. Shane (Battier) had the one-on-one match up, but we were all in-tune every time he (Kobe Bryant) got the ball. It was a good defensive game plan for all of us.”

On playing against Kobe:

“Anytime you go out there against one of the best, you want to compete at a high level. It is good to always get a good win against a great team (Los Angeles Lakers). It has never been between Kobe (Bryant) and I, even though we get all the press and limelight. We just try to do whatever it takes to help our team get a win.”

Chris Bosh:

On if it hurts to lose a game like this the way it happened:

“It was good to start to put our defense together. That is the most important thing. We are creating some momentum. I just tried to be aggressive. I saw a few lanes. I play with no hesitation. I do not worry about misses or makes.”

On being traded and the difficulty of coming back here and playing:

“Kobe (Bryant) did not have too many wide open looks. We trapped him as much as possible. We played team defense.”

Shane Battier:

On playing against Kobe Bryant:

“Kobe (Bryant) and I have had a lot of battles. There is no one that I respect more in this game than Kobe, for all that he is. As a defender you have to have a short memory because he’s going to make some tough shots on you. You have to be able to move onto the next play and maintain your game plan. I’ve been on the wrong end of enough 40 point games of his to learn that lesson the hard way."

On team defense against Kobe tonight:

“Usually I’m on Kobe Island and it’s a lonely place. It’s very nice (the HEAT’s team defense tonight). I told the big guys that I’m appreciative of their efforts tonight. I’m not used to it.”

Lakers-Heat Preview


Posted Jan 18 2012 12:06PM

MIAMI (AP) Kobe Bryant is 33 years old, has spent nearly half his life in the NBA, is dealing with a significant wrist injury and has taken about 3,000 more shots in his career than any other active player.

Given all that, some may think he's a candidate to start slowing down.

LeBron James is not among those who would even consider that possible.

The NBA's top two scorers this season - Bryant at 30.8 points per game, James at 29.8 - go head-to-head Thursday night, when the Los Angeles Lakers visit the Miami Heat. Even with subplots including James facing his former Cleveland coach in the Lakers' Mike Brown, the possibility that Dwyane Wade may sit out again with a sprained right ankle and hints that Miami center Eddy Curry may make his Heat debut, all eyes will be on one thing.

Kobe vs. LeBron.

"We know how great of a player, how competitive he is," James said. "And he's not going to sell himself short, either. ... He's a scorer. He's a flat-out scorer."

Bryant is coming off a stretch where he scored at least 40 points in four straight games, a streak snapped in a 73-70 win over Dallas on Monday night. Bryant entered Wednesday ranking seventh in the NBA in minutes per game (37.7), a stat made even more impressive when considering that only one of the six players ahead of him on that list is older than 27.

"I do want to get it down," Brown said. "He's played a ton of minutes too early right now."

Hey, if Brown wants to start that policy on Thursday, it doesn't sound like the Heat would complain.

"He looks healthier and quicker than he did last year," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "I think everybody knew he wasn't 100 percent last year. He was just grinding through it and the lockout was probably beneficial for him, the extra time but also he was able to get stronger. He looks very lean. He looks in great shape."

The Lakers have played 10 of their first 15 games at home (or 11, technically, since one of their five "road" games was at the Los Angeles Clippers). This trip is a quick but lengthy one, with the Lakers flying cross-country on Wednesday, visiting Miami on Thursday, Orlando on Friday and then heading back home in time for a matchup Sunday against Indiana.

It's the first Eastern Conference trip of the year for the Lakers.

"Just get ready. Just get ready," Bryant said, when asked what the Lakers needed to do to prep for Miami and Orlando. "It's our first really long road trip in terms of distance and travel and with a new coaching staff, kind of getting used to the travel schedule and how they do things. Looking forward to it."

Some would say that scoring wise, Bryant looks as good as ever.

Sure, it's early, but Bryant is on pace to average 30 points for the first time in five seasons. And he's putting up those numbers even though a ligament issue in his right wrist - his shooting side - is hampering him at times on long jumpers, noted by his career-low 24 percent success rate from 3-point range so far this year.

He's more than compensating in other areas of his game.

"Not a surprise," Heat forward Shane Battier said. "That's what he's done his entire career. You know when you're getting ready to lace `em up against Kobe Bryant, you load up for bear. It's going to be a work-filled day."

For James, some of that work will come on the defensive end.

With it sounding like a strong possibility Wade will not play - Spoelstra said his status Wednesday remains day-to-day - the Heat will still run a steady stream of defenders at Bryant, with candidates including Battier, James Jones, Mike Miller and James.

"He'll have to take that challenge at some point," Spoelstra said. "Whether he does it at the beginning of the game, I'm not sure. ... He can't afford to get tired right now. He just simply can't."

Head-to-head, James and Bryant have remarkably similar numbers. Over the last 11 meetings between their teams, James is averaging 27.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7 assists, while Bryant is putting up 28.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.6 assists.

There is one significant difference in that span: James' team have gone 9-2 against the Lakers.

"It's not about LeBron and Kobe," James said. "It's the Lakers versus Heat thing. ... We just try to do what's best for our team and help our teams win."

Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited
Probable Starters
  #9 Barnes SF #6 James  
  #16 Gasol PF #1 Bosh  
  #17 Bynum C #50 Anthony  
  #24 Bryant SG #22 Jones  
  #2 Fisher PG #15 Chalmers  

Lakers Kobe Bryant
(torn lunotriquetral ligament, right wrist) is probable.
Derrick Caracter
(torn lateral meniscus, left knee) is out.
Pau Gasol
(sprained right shoulder) is probable.
Josh McRoberts
(sprained left big toe and left thumb) is probable.
Steve Blake
(costochaondral fracture) is out.

Eddy Curry
(hip flexor)
Mike Miller
(hernia surgery)
Dwayne Wade
(sprained left ankle)

Game 1: 01/19
Game 2: 03/04


The Lakers lost last season’s series with the Heat 0-2 after splitting the 2009-10 series 1-1. This will be the 47th meeting between the two franchises with the Lakers holding a 29-17 all-time lead. The Lakers are 5-5 in their last 10 meetings with the Heat. In Miami, the Lakers are 3-7 in their last 10 games and have lost in six of their last seven trips to South Florida. In Los Angeles, the Lakers have gone 7-2 in their last nine home games against Miami and are 8-4 all-time against the Heat at STAPLES Center. In their first meeting of the 2009-10 season (12/4/09), the Lakers defeated the Heat on a Kobe Bryant one-foot, running bank-shot three-point field goal from the top, left side of the arc at the buzzer. In their second meeting, they fell to the Heat 111-114 in overtime at Miami (3/4/10). In their first meeting last season, the Heat held Los Angeles to a series-low 80 points (12/25/10). In 27 games including 23 starts, Kobe Bryant is averaging 24.6 points against Miami and holds the high individual game for the series with 42 points on Christmas Day against the Heat in 2004. Miami’s Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh played alongside Kobe Bryant on the gold medal winning US Men’s Olympic Basketball Team at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In 16 career games against the Lakers, James is averaging 27.3 points per game (436) with his team posting a 10-6 record in those contests. Heat assistant coach Bob McAdoo played four seasons with the Lakers from 1981-85, helping Los Angeles to two NBA Championships (1982, 1985) while averaging 12.1 points and 4.4 rebounds in the regular season and 13.4 points and 5.5 rebounds in 61 postseason games. Heat President Pat Riley won four NBA Championships as head coach of the Lakers, posting a regular season record of 533-194 (.733) and a 102-47 (.685) postseason mark in nine seasons with the team. Heat forward Shane Battier and Pau Gasol were both rookies with the Grizzlies in 2001-02 and played alongside each other in Memphis through the 2005-06 season.

Known for his clutch shooting, Derek Fisher delivered once again for the Lakers in their 73-70 victory over Dallas on January 16th, this time in game-winning fashion with a three-pointer from the right side of the arc with 3.1 seconds remaining. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, since the stat began being tracked prior to the 2000-01 season, Fisher now has SIX game winning field goals, five in the regular season and one in the playoffs (FGM in last 10 seconds of the 4th quarter or overtime). Only three, however, have actually come with the Lakers: the three-pointer vs. Dallas this season, a running three-foot layup high off the glass as the buzzer sounded to give the Lakers an 87-86 victory 12/8/10 at LA Clippers last season and his famous 0.4 second buzzer beater 5/13/04 at San Antonio (74-73 win). Fisher’s other game winners came with Utah (2/10/07 vs. NY (104-102 win) and Golden State (3/25/05 vs. MIL (118-117 win), 12/28/05 vs. BOS (111-109 win)).

In 2009-10, teammate Kobe Bryant famously connected on six game-winners; the most game winning field goals of any player in a single season over the last decade-plus (Carmelo Anthony ranks second on this list with five game-winning field goals in 2005-06). Since the start of the 2000-01 season, Bryant has 20 field goals that have given his team the lead within the last 10 seconds of a fourth quarter or overtime, the most in the league over that span.

Averaging a league-high 43.0 points on 50.4% shooting, 6.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.00 steals while helping the Lakers to a 3-1 record, Kobe Bryant earned his SECOND WC Player of the week award this season for games played Monday, Jan. 9 through Sunday, Jan. 15. It is the second consecutive week Bryant has won the award, also earning the honor for games played Monday, Jan. 2 through Sunday, Jan. 8 when he averaged a league-high 33.0 points on 49.5% shooting, 5.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists while helping the Lakers to a 3-1 record. The award is the 30th of Bryant’s career (28 Western Conference POW, 2 NBA POW), further surpassing Magic Johnson’s 18 NBA POW awards as the franchise’s all-time leader. Johnson, however, earned each of his Player of the Week nods before the award was separated by Conference prior to the 2001-02 season. Bryant’s other WC POW honors came in weeks ending: 11/4/01, 1/20/02, 11/3/02, 12/8/02, 1/12/03, 2/2/03, 2/23/03, 2/17/04, 3/22/04, 11/13/05, 12/18/05, 12/25/05, 1/22/06, 4/16/06, 3/18/07, 3/25/07, 1/13/08, 3/2/08, 4/6/08, 12/28/08, 1/11/09, 3/15/09, 11/22/09, 12/20/09, 12/27/09, 3/27/11 and 1/8/12. His two NBA Player of the Week honors came in weeks ending 4/16/00 and 12/24/00. The NBA began the Player of the Week award in 1979-80.

On Monday, January 16, Kobe Bryant was named as one of 20 finalists for the 2012 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team by USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo . The official 12-man U.S. Olympic team roster will be announced later this year. Bryant is one of eight 2008 Olympic gold medalists in the final 20 along with 10 members of the 2010 USA World Championship gold medal winning team. Others named as finalists in addition to Bryant include: LaMarcus Aldridge (Trail Blazers); Carmelo Anthony (Knicks); Chauncey Billups (Clippers); Chris Bosh (Heat); Tyson Chandler (Knicks); Kevin Durant (Thunder); Rudy Gay (Grizzlies); Eric Gordon (Hornets); Blake Griffin (Clippers); Dwight Howard (Magic); Andre Iguodala (76ers); LeBron James (Heat); Kevin Love (Timberwolves); Lamar Odom (Mavericks); Chris Paul (Clippers); Derrick Rose (Bulls); Dwyane Wade (Heat); Russell Westbrook (Thunder); and Deron Williams (Nets). The 2012 USA coaching staff is led by Duke Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski. Serving as assistants are Syracuse Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni, and Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan.

On January 12th, the NBA announced its FIRST returns of 2012 NBA All-Star balloting with Kobe Bryant (690,613) LEADING all Western Conference players in All-Star voting while ranking second league-wide behind Dwight Howard (754,737). Pau Gasol (185,428), who made his fourth All-Star team last season as a reserve, ranks 4th among forwards in the West behind Kevin Durant (633,538), Blake Griffin (394,264) and Dirk Nowitzki (231,832). Andrew Bynum (496,597) leads all West centers, with DeAndre Jordan (134,961) and Marc Gasol (102,116) ranked second and third respectively. Chris Paul (540,173) ranks 2nd among West guards behind Bryant. In the East, LeBron James (640,789) and Carmelo Anthony (496,351) lead all forwards in voting, Derrick Rose (640,476) and Dwyane Wade (637,912) are the top two votegetters at guard and Howard leads all centers in balloting.

In each of the last four seasons, Bryant has led the Western Conference in all-star balloting. Last season, Bryant, who was the youngest All-Star in NBA history in 1998, received 2,380,016 votes to lead all players in balloting, the second time in his career he has done so (2003). In 2009-10, Bryant received 2,456,224 votes, finishing second overall to Cleveland’s LeBron James (2,549,693). In 2008-09, he accumulated 2,805,397 votes, finishing third in overall balloting behind Dwight Howard (3,150,181) and James (2,940,823). In 2007-08, Bryant garnered 2,004,940 votes to finish fourth in overall voting behind Kevin Garnett (2,399,148), James (2,108,831) and Howard (2,066,991). In 2006-07, when he earned his second All-Star MVP, Bryant finished third overall in balloting behind James and Yao Ming. A four-time All-Star MVP (2002 Philadelphia, 2007 Las Vegas, 2009 Phoenix, 2011 Los Angeles), Bryant is a 13-time All-Star and had started 11 consecutive All-Star games before missing the 2009-10 contest due to a sprained left ankle. Gasol has made four All-Star appearances (2006, 2009-11) and in 2009, became the 27th Laker in franchise history to be named to an All-Star team. Bynum has yet to make an All-Star Team, finishing 2nd among West centers (974,546) a year ago behind Yao Ming (1,146,426).

Last season, Kobe Bryant moved past Hall-of-Famers Moses Malone (27,409) 3/8/11 at Atlanta, Elvin Hayes (27,313) 2/27/11 at Oklahoma City, Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) 1/28/11 vs. Sacramento, Oscar Robertson (26,710) 1/7/11 vs. New Orleans, Dominique Wilkins (26,668) 1/4/11 vs. Detroit and John Havlicek (26,395) 12/10/10 at Chicago on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Next on the all-time list ahead of Bryant (28,144) are Shaquille O’Neal (5th/28,596), Wilt Chamberlain (4th/31,419), Michael Jordan (3rd/32,292), Karl Malone (2nd/36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1st/38,387). Among the top six scorers in NBA history, five have worn the Lakers uniform.

Bryant has been steadily moving up the list over the past few years. In 2009-10, he passed Alex English (25,613), Reggie Miller (25,279), Jerry West (25,192), Patrick Ewing (24,815) and Allen Iverson (24,368). In passing West with a slam dunk at the 4:14 mark of the third quarter February 1, 2010 at Memphis, finishing the game with 44 points (West’s retired number), Bryant became the leading scorer in Lakers franchise history. In 2008-09, Bryant passed Gary Payton (21,813) and Hall-of-Famers Charles Barkley (23,757), Robert Parish (23,334), Adrian Dantley (23,177), Elgin Baylor (23,149), Clyde Drexler (22,195) and Larry Bird (21,791).

*Statistical research assistance provided by the Elias Sports Bureau

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