Kobe Bryant goes up for a dunk as Miami Heat forward LeBron James defends… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)
Heat 99 - Lakers 90 (end of regulation)
Kobe Bryant hit a three-point shot with 2:33 left in the game to tie the score at 90 apiece. The Lakers wouldn't score again.
Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen and LeBron James scored in succession to build a six-point lead with 49 seconds left, a lead the Lakers couldn't overcome.
James led all scorers with 39 points on 17-25 shooting. Wade had 27 on 11-20 shooting. Their teammates hit just 31.6% but the two-man show was enough to defeat the Lakers. Ray Allen did provide nine points, that little extra push Miami needed.
The Heat turned the ball over just six times while the Lakers had 20 for the game. Points off turnovers were a staggering 23-2 in favor of Miami.
The Lakers were led by Bryant who gave the Lakers a burst of offense in the fourth after a tough night, finishing with 22 points on 8-25 shooting. Metta World Peace had 16, Dwight Howard 13 and Antawn Jamison12.
Pau Gasol returned from a five game absence (concussion) to score 12 points in 25 minutes. The Lakers shot 43.1% from the field and 10-22 from three.
Three-pointers kept the game close but the Heat executed in the final minutes to improve to 26-12. The Lakers fall to 17-22.
Heat 73 - Lakers 65 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers had trouble containing LeBron James who scored 11 points in the third quarter (29 for the game).
While the Lakers finally got their turnovers under control (just three in the third after 16 in the first half), they struggled to score efficiently. Antawn Jamison bailed out the Lakers with a three-pointer and a conventional three-point play but otherwise it was mostly slow going.
The Heat settled into their rotations and brought the Lakers shooting down to 40% from the field. Miami also got 21 from Dwyane Wade and shot 45.3% from the field.
The Lakers were led by Metta World Peace and Jamison with 12 each. Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol had 10 apiece.
Kobe Bryant struggled, scoring nine points on 3-16 shooting.
Lakers 45 - Heat 44 (halftime)
The Lakers turned the ball over another eight times with a stunning 16 turnovers in 24 minutes of basketball and yet they still took a lead into the half.
Making a concerted effort to feed Howard the ball, the Lakers tried to punish Miami on the inside. Howard finished with 10 points on 3-4 shooting from the field (and 4-7 from the line). Kobe Bryant struggled with just four points on 4-9 shooting with four turnovers.
Metta World Peace also contributed 10 points on 3-6 shooting.
The Heat flourished in transition but otherwise struggled to score. LeBron James had 18 on 9-13 shooting. Dwyane Wade had 13 on 5-10 but the rest of the Heat shot 19% from the field.
Pau Gasol put in a strong 8 1/2 minutes with eight points after returning from five-games off with a concussion.
Heat 26 – Lakers 22 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers survived eight first-quarter turnovers, lucky to be down by just three points against the Miami Heat.
Miami scored their first eight points on dunks, directly off giveaways from the Lakers. LeBron James had 12 points on 6-8 shooting. Dwyane Wade scored 10 as the Heat shot 48% from the field. The rest of the Heat scored four combined.
The Lakers got seven from Metta World Peace while shooting 41.2% from the field. The Heat hit both of their two free throw attempts while the Lakers hit 7-8, staying in the game at the line.
The Lakers (17-21) can win three-straight with a victory Tuesday night against the Miami Heat (25-12) at Staples Center.
While the Heat are defending champions with the best record in the Eastern Conference, they have struggled recently, losing six of 11. If the Lakers hope to make real strides to climb in the Western Conference, they'll need to defend their home court against quality teams like Miami.
Pau Gasol will make his return from a concussion after sitting out for five straight. Earl Clark is expected to start as Gasol looks to shake off the cobwebs.
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers at Heat.
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Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.