Heat: Joel Anthony, Daequan Cook, Smush Parker
Lakers: Andrew Bynum, Chris Mihm
Starting for the Heat: Wade, Marion, Haslem, Blount, Williams
Starting for the Lakers: Bryant, Walton, Odom, Gasol, Fisher
10:34 Kobe feeds Pau on the pick and roll and it looks real easy. Also of note is Marion guarding Luke. That’s surprising, giving what Luke’s role is in the offense, but maybe they plan to make Marion the primary help defender.
8:39 Kobe makes the steal on Wade and avoids the kicked ball call. On his finish, Kobe thinks he is fouled and protests as such. We’ll see if Kobe’s recent streak of T’s will continue if the refs fail to show him love.
7:45 Lakers 12, Heat 4 – The Lakers get out to an early lead. The Heat are shooting poorly and the Lakers are attacking quickly off the rebounds. The bright spot for Miami is Blount, has anyone said that the reason any team is in the game is Mark Blount, who has accounted for all of their points.
6:44 The Heat are fronting the post and I don’t think they’ll be doing it much longer. The Lakers are getting the pass over the defender and making them pay.
5:35 The Heat call a time-out as it’s been 6-0 for the Lakers since the last time-out. The Heat have been pretty loose on the defensive end. The Lakers have easily gotten into the heart of the defense and are making them pay. They are shooting almost .700 early.
3:57 Kobe doesn’t get a call down low, but then gets the call on the perimeter. It’s mainly of note as it is the second on Wade. That may keep him from penetrating with abandon if he needs to watch against the offensive foul.
2:49 Fisher makes an interesting play. Banks beats him off the dribble and instead of fighting to catch up, Fisher runs to cover the shooter in the corner so the help defense is free to cut off the lane. Seems like a pretty heady choice. He couldn’t have stopped the penetration at that point, but he could get to the shooter in time, had the pass gone that way.
End of 1st Quarter Lakers 26, Heat 19
The Heat hit a three courtesy of Marcus Banks to close the quarter. That makes the deficit more respectable than it has been for most of the quarter. Toward the latter half the Heat began to get a few looks on the break, more in accordance with the up tempo style they have adopted since Shaq’s departure, and the Lakers offense cooled off from its early torrid pace. Pau and Kobe each have 8 to pace the Lakers, but just 2 from Farmar and 0 from Fisher.
Lakers have Ronny, Sasha, Lamar, Jordan and Pau
10:25 Jordan anticipates the pass out of the post and intercepts the pass. He then dishes to Sasha for a jumper. On the next possession Lamar waits on the back side for Wade to try to lay it in. He gets the steal and that leads to another jumper from Sasha.
9:13 It seems like the Lakers have scored each time down this quarter. The lead stands at 14 thanks to help defense down low, hat tip to Lamar and Ronny, and scoring for the back court in the guise of Jordan’s 3 pointer and 2 jumpers from Sasha. Those scoring opportunities that seemed easy to open the game have returned to open the 2nd quarter.
8:54 Kobe makes his bid for Dunk of the Night, slicing through the defense and finishing with the reverse slam. On the other end, Ronny provides more help D. He seems to have a good feel for where to be tonight to provide cover.
7:51 Mbenga time
6:12 Wade dribbles the ball off of this foot so Jordan takes his charity and draws the clear path foul. That’s 3 on Wade, so he gets some time on the bench. The Lakers now lead by 18 and are doing what they need to do, play with more energy and get on a weaker team early and stay on them.
5:24 A quick scan of the stats and the most positive elements are all on the defensive end. 5 blocks, Heat shooting .323, Wade with 0 points. On the offensive side, few turnovers (4) and many assists (13) more or less tell the story. Fisher is back on the court and it would be nice to see him get a few shots to drop.
4:15 The whole basketball stanchion is shaking on the dunk by Ronny. Luke makes a sublime interior extra pass to exchange his likely layup for an emphatic throw-down. One last note on the stat side, 3 offensive rebounds for the Heat, the defensive glass is much more under control than against Portland.
1:58 As it was at the end of the 1st quarter, the Heat have gone on a little run. They’ve hit their shots, mostly jumpers and the Lakers offense has stalled a bit. The lead is down to 10. The final 2 minutes of the half could go a long way toward determining how the 2nd half will be played and how much rest the starters might get leading into the game tomorrow night.
Halftime – Lakers 53, Heat 41
The Lakers close the half with a few strong defensive possessions, interrupted by a Haslem offensive rebound and put back. All told, the Lakers should probably be up by more. They have dominated the beginning of both quarters, only to see the Heat reel them in to stay within striking distance.
8:41 The Dwyane Wade scoreless streak has ended 27 minutes. Wade cans a three to get something besides a goose egg in the positive sections of the score sheet.
6:52 Pau shows great court awareness as he’s fed by Kobe down low with the option to throw up something from the baseline, but instead he sees Fish alone on the wing and hits him from clear across the court for an open three-pointer. Just one more thing the big man from Spain brings to the table.
6:23 Lakers legend Magic Johnson is in attendance tonight as he often is, but tonight he’s making a point of really interacting with the crowd. Magic spent a lot of time before the game signing for fans and now just went about halfway up section 115 to talk to someone he knows. This leads to a mob scene with camera phones abounding. Johnson also spent a good amount of time in the media room talking with Stu Lantz and Mychal Thompson, that’s the first time I’ve seen him in there this year.
5:43 A whole lot of teamwork on display as Kobe tracks down the Wade turnover and heaves it over his head to a streaking Luke Walton, narrowly avoiding interception by the Heat. Luke then goes behind his back to find Lamar for the easy finish. That might make a couple highlight reels.
0:00 The quarter ends on a freaky Kobe block that denies Marion an easy dunk. The Lakers have extended their 12-point halftime lead to 15 at 73-58. Tacos are looking like a real possibility.
11:54 Lakers call a timeout on the in-bound. You have to applaud Luke for resisting the temptation to throw it over the top. He looked at it, but it’s better to wait out their pressure than give in. That pass is the one they want you to take and hence where they are anticipating making a play.
They made the same play and forced the over-the-top pass. Only a poor foul bailed the Lakers out.
9:52 Something that has been noticed, Pau is a very nice guy. He showed it again by helping up a camera woman who got bowled over, but in general, Pau is a very nice guy.
8:42 Ronny serves up an epic block and then is mortified to be called for a foul. The replay doesn’t make the decision seem any better. Ronny gets another block on the next possession down, clean this time, and serves up a little glare to the refs after.
7:29 Sasha has ingratiated himself to another opponent. Away from the play, suddenly Sasha is off the court and Wade is called for the foul. Wade jaws at Sasha as they reset.
7:06 After Wade draws a shooting foul on Sasha, Sasha crosses him over and dishes to Jordan for the layup. That gets Jordan to tie his career high of 21, the second time in 2 games. We’ll see if he can extend it in the remaining minutes.
5:48 Things have taken on a chippy edge. I think Wade has gotten riled up, riled up like only an man being guarded by Sasha can get. He got a hack in on Lamar. The lead stands at 12. The Lakers need to keep the energy up to squeeze the Heat out of the game.
5:31 Ronny snatches a rebound from Lamar and then makes a face at him. So much joy. Except when that block was called a foul, otherwise, so much joy.
2:52 Kobe gets called for slapping away the defenders hand. That gives the crowd the chance they need to file out. The lead is at 13 and Miami hasn’t shown enough to make you think they’re going to put something together to make this a game. The Lakers just torched their press, leading to a Kobe dunk, and it just doesn’t feel like the Lakers are going to let this one go. One clue to that, rebounds, where the Lakers have Gasol, Odom and Walton in double figures and Ronny at 9. All those rebounds are keeping the Heat from getting back into it.
2:00 Kobe pulls up his shorts to defend Wade. He’s adamant that he will continue the locked down he started in the game in Miami.
End of game Lakers 106 Heat 88
Lakers win 10th in a row.
And secure tacos.