Lakers 111, Heat 114: Running Diary

59799461Lakers – Heat Gameday Page
We took a look at the Lakers – Heat contest in Miami while it was happening, entering a thought or three each quarter as the Lakers looked for their fourth consecutive win.

Lakers: Sasha Vujacic (shoulder)
Heat: James Jones

Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Heat: Carlos Arroyo, Dwyane Wade, Quentin Richardson, Michael Beasley, Jermaine O’Neal

Pregame Injury Update – Shannon Brown
Brown took a few moments to describe his newly injured right thumb: CLICK HERE.

59799371First Quarter
7:55 If you watched the Lakers defeat Denver on Sunday, it was a familiar sight when early in Miami Kobe Bryant brought a double-team to the right block, then swung the ball to the weak side for a wide-open Derek Fisher three-pointer, which swished through to knot the score at nine. In unrelated news, Miami’s introductory video looked like it was produced in the 1970′s, for some reason, with each player wearing strange outfits amidst weird bubble letters (just so you know).

6:26 Fisher capped a nice opening stretch by nailing his third straight shot for a team-high seven points, giving the Lakers a 13-10 edge. That Fisher was taking shots was related to L.A.’s struggle to get the ball inside, as Miami is one of the league’s better teams at denying entry passes to the post. Phil Jackson said the key was good ball movement from side to side within the triangle scheme, which can sometimes take a bit of time in terms of adjusting within the game.

0:07.3 Though he started slowly from the field (1-of-4) and the line (2-of-4), Bryant hit his last two shots of the second at the rim, including his hang-in-the-air-through-the-lane-and-use-the-glass (like in the 2009 NBA Finals) trick to score the final basket of the first to put L.A. up 27-26. The Lakers shot 63.2 percent from the field, but turned the ball over six times for 11 Heat points.

Second Quarter
9:58 With Bryant and Gasol on the bench, Odom began to look for his shot to open the second, connecting on consecutive jumpers as Udonis Haslem played him to drive. Earlier today, Odom was (as always) in the team hotel weight room earlier in the day with his personal trainer getting a work out in, which he says helps keep his body feeling strong and energized during games. Bryant is a well-known game day workout fiend, while Josh Powell lifts before the game at the arena.

3:02 Because of Wade’s penetration, Bryant slipped off his man – Quentin Richardson – just a bit to help, and that’s all the space Q needed to hit his third three-pointer of the game for a team-high 11 points, bringing Miami within a point of the Lakers. In other Q news, does anyone else wish he still had Darius Miles around for the two-fist-on-head bit?

1:28 After playing just six minutes in the first quarter due to foul trouble, Andrew Bynum made up for it in the second, grabbing all nine of his rebounds, including four offensive that helped earn his 10 points. Gasol and Artest added buckets for the Lakers to close the half, earning a 47-44 on 50 percent shooting with 10 turnovers.

59799405Third Quarter
8:57 Michael Beasley, last year’s No. 2 overall pick after Derrick Rose, had a nasty put-back dunk on Gasol, then immediately drew a technical foul for taunting the Spaniard. To follow up, Beasley stared at the jumbotron for a full 25 seconds until they showed the replay.

4:27 Richardson continued to kill the Lakers from the three-point line, nailing back-to-back triples – his fifth and sixth of the game – to reach 22 points and give the Heat a 67-63 lead. Three more, and Q would tie Chauncey Billups and his nine threes against L.A. for the opponent season high.

0:10.2 Dorrell Wright closed the third quarter with a baseline jam off Wade’s pretty pass, giving the Heat a 74-68 lead heading into the final quarter. Bryant was up to 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting, while Artest, Bynum and Fisher were also in double figures.

Fourth Quarter
10:25 Wright hit a three in the corner and Arroyo a pull-up jumper in transition to give the Heat their biggest lead, at nine, as the home team was just the latest to save their best game in a long time for the Lakers. Miami had dropped four straight games before squeaking by Golden State’s D-League filled squad, but was responding to a big crowd – not the norm in South Beach – in a big way.

7:54 The Lakers bench put forth a key 7-2 stretch, featuring two monster dunks from Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar’s three, two of the plays coming off Odom assists. Brown’s first dunk may have won him the Slam Dunk Contest, as he exploded off the baseline, double-pumped and finished with two hands. Just all nasty and fierce, and L.A. was within four at 83-79.

3:12 The team’s respective superstars hit threes on back-to-back possessions, first Wade, then Kobe, as Miami retained a 92-87 lead as the clock grew as an enemy to L.A. Then, after an impressive push from L.A., featuring a Fisher three and Kobe’s pull-up jumper plus some solid defense, Bryant drew a shooting foul on Richardson and sank both free throws to put L.A. up 97-96. That happened fast.

0:03.3 Yet it paled in comparison to Bryant’s game-tying jumper in the lane from about 17 feet over Wade, which answered Richardson’s seventh three-pointer of the game that had made it 99-97 seven seconds prior to that. Miami had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but Wade’s double-clutch jumper was well short, thanks to the defensive pursuit of both Odom and Artest. Time for some overtime, L.A.’s first extra session since Dec. 26 at Sacramento. Generally, Kobe just wins it in regulation.

3:17 I think Kobe found his shooting touch. He followed that regulation J with back-to-back jumpers over Wade and Richardson, respectively, to put L.A. up 103-101. He’d hit once again a minute later, but Miami kept matching as the game was tied at 105.

0:37.3 L.A. got a big driving hoop from Odom to tie things at 107, but Wade alley-ooped to O’Neal for a layup that put Miami back on top. But then Odom, after just missing a three, stole the ball and fed Farmar for a layup that preceded Haslem’s open jumper to make it 111-109 Heat. Quite an entertaining final stanza, to say the least.

0:18.7 The latest biggest play of the game came as O’Neal stepped in front of a driving Bryant to draw a charge, getting possession back for Miami, which got two free throws from Arroyo to go up four. Bryant missed a three on the ensuing possession, Arroyo added 1-of-2 free throws with 0:06.2 to play, and the Lakers had been beaten in overtime for the first time in five games.

Up next is a Friday night contest in Charlotte, but until then, your numbers:

7 Three-pointers hit by Miami’s Quentin Richardson, all in the first three quarters, for 21 of his 25 points, including the dagger that put the Heat up 99-97 with 11.1 to play. Chauncey Billups’ nine threes on Feb. 5 was the most against L.A. this season.

10 Missed free throws by the Lakers (15-of-25), while Miami made 21-of-25.

14 Points for Derek Fisher in one of his better games of late, including a late three-pointer that keyed L.A.’s late comeback.

18 Of Kobe Bryant’s 39 points that came in the fourth quarter and overtime.

22 Combined points from Andrew Bynum (12) and Pau Gasol (10), a number which will rarely get it done for the Lakers.