The Lakers have gone 2-2 on their road trip so far and now look to gain revenge on the defending champion Miami Heat tonight. The two teams met in a surprisingly competitive game on Christmas day with the Heat prevailing. Chris Bosh was huge for the Heat in their victory.
Tonight, the Heat will be without guard Dwyane Wade and have struggled as of late, going 3-4 in their last seven games. The Lakers are coming off of a tough overtime loss in Chicago two nights ago and need to turn things around quickly.
The Lakers got off to a slow start as the Heat were able to get a couple of easy layups. Ryan Kelly got the scoring going for the Lakers, but the defense struggled to keep up with the excellent ball movement of the Miami Heat. Chris Bosh got a wide open three off an offensive rebound and Ray Allen got another off of excellent passing. Nick Young and Manny Harris entered the game, but the Lakers are struggling to hold on to the ball. An excellent lob from LeBron to Chris Andersen put the Heat up nine early. A Nick Young three cut the lead to six and forced the Heat to use a timeout. Both teams brought in some bench players and the offenses stagnated for a bit. LeBron got a layup off an easy drive and Harris got an and-one. Jordan Hill got a great tip-in with two seconds and the Lakers trailed by three at the end of the first.
Both teams had the bench in to start the quarter with the Heat bench being outplayed. The Heat started the quarter on an 11-2 run as Beasley threw down a jam on Jordan Hill, Oden got an easy jump hook, and Chalmers hit a three-pointer to push the lead to 10 out of nowhere. The Lakers continued to fight to keep the lead under control. Marshall hit Meeks on an excellent backdoor cut but the Heat lead was still nine. Bosh continued his great first half with a nice jump hook and a LeBron layup plus the foul pushed the Heat lead out to 13 as the Lakers struggled to keep the game within reach. Gasol has looked excellent offensively with 12 points and five rebounds, but is getting little support. Kendall Marshall hit a deep three late in the quarter, but Kelly fouled Battier on a three on the other end. At the end of the half, the Lakers deficit ballooned to 11.
The Heat started the quarter with five quick points that forced the Lakers to burn an early timeout. Meeks and Johnson hit consecutive three-pointers and Meeks got a steal and fast break layup to cut the lead down to nine. The defense continued to fail them as the Heat got either layups or offensive rebounds for easy buckets. The turnover problem then came back to the Lakers as a LeBron steal and dunk got the entire crowd going and the Heat lead by 15 midway through the quarter. The bench came in and cut the lead down thanks to Young. Despite seemingly being dominated, the Lakers cut the lead to eight. A couple of Heat buckets followed by a Jordan Hill basket and the Lakers trail only by 10 heading into the fourth.
A Gasol basket and foul followed by a Young steal and layup and the Lakers cut the lead to five points. Both teams traded baskets with Bosh and Gasol carrying each team. Young got himself another steal and layup, but missed the free throw to keep the Lakers deficit at seven points. LeBron checked back in the game and Bosh continued his excellent game as he pushed the Heat lead back to nine. A fadeaway jumper by Gasol, who has been the best Laker tonight, cut the lead back to five, and a Nick Young three had the Lakers trailing only by four before Ray Allen was left wide open, draining a three to push the lead back to seven. After a crazy play, Meeks hit a three and the Lakers trailed only by four with three minutes remaining. A LeBron three is matched by a Marshall layup. After a couple of empty possessions, the Lakers still trailed by five with just over a minute remaining. A missed shot and a Bosh jumper, puts the game away for good as the Lakers drop their second straight game.
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