USA TODAY Sports
Miami got an All-World game from LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade chipped in with a good one himself, as Miami held off the home team in a close one.
For the second consecutive game, the Miami Heat looked active defensively, and got some fabulously efficient play from its two best players to win, only this time, it was much closer.
The Los Angeles Lakers (17-22) kept the game close, but the Heat (26-12) separated themselves late.
LeBron James scored 39 points on 17-of-25 shooting to go with eight assists and seven rebounds. Dwyane Wade scored 27 for Miami as the duo single handedly outscored the Laker starters. The Heat held the Lakers to 43 percent shooting and kept Kobe Bryant in check for most of the contest.
After the Lakers took an 83-81 lead with 6:33 left in the 4th quarter, the Heat scored seven straight to take a 88-83 lead. The Lakers clawed back and tied the contest at 90 with a Bryant 3-pointer at the 2:32 mark, but Wade, Ray Allen and James responded with scores to effectively put the game on ice.
Miami will end its six game road trip with a 3-3 record after winning the last two games. The Heat will play the next two games at home before going on another four game trip.
* For as much as this matchup has become a conversation comparing James and Bryant, it gets kind of forgotten than Wade is probably a better comparison for Bryant. The pair of shooting guards are the best the league has had since Michael Jordan's second retirement in 1998, and James is pretty clearly a better player than Bryant anyway. After Wade had been a more productive player than Bryant for a number of years (2007-2012), Bryant has put a foot forward this year and has been the best at his position this season, but Wade edged him in this one.
Bryant shot just 8-of-25 for 22 points and little else and Wade shot 11-of-20 from the field, to go along with five assists, four rebounds and two steals.
* Joel Anthony played 19 minutes, and was effective in stalling a few Steve Nash high pick-and-rolls and doing his normal work as an active defender. He fronted the post quite a bit and did the little things on offense (Screening) that this coaching staff loves about him. There is little doubt he should be in the rotation.
* The Lakers attempted to get Dwight Howard more involved in the second half, but a good dose of fronting and timely rotations helped deny many possessions where he could have taken advantage of Miami's interior. He ended up attempting just seven field goals, which is a victory for any defense that plays him. He did attempt 13 free throws, however, but we know how that goes.