Monthly Archive for December, 2010

Lakers – Sixers Postgame Numbers

We highlighted some of the more interesting numbers from L.A.’s New Years Eve win over the Philadelphia 76ers at STAPLES Center, which improved the team’s record to 23-10 on the season.

14 L.A.’s biggest lead of the evening, attained in the third quarter. Philly did not lead once, though they did manage to come all the way back to tie the game at 98 in the final moments.

15 Season-high number of rebounds grabbed by Andrew Bynum.

16 Points in the paint advantage for the Lakers, who utilized their size advantage at several positions (particularly through Bryant, Gasol and Bynum) quite well.

21 Points averaged by Lamar Odom in two games off the bench, adding 18 against Philly after scoring 24 against New Orleans on Wednesday.

33 Points for Kobe Bryant, the first time he’s gone for 30+ since Dec. 15 at Indiana (31). Bryant made 13-of-24 shots, scoring from all of his favorite spots on the evening, and sank two critical free throws with 1.9 seconds remaining to seal the game for the Lakers.

51.2 L.A.’s field goal percentage on the evening.

75 Shooting percentage for Pau Gasol, who sank nine of his 12 shots, all in the first three quarters. The Spaniard grabbed eight rebounds as well, second to Bynum’s 15, in 33 minutes.

Lakers 102, Sixers 98: New Years Eve Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s New Years Eve home contest against Philadelphia as the Lakers looked to back up a solid win against New Orleans, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Sixers: J. Holiday, J. Meeks, A. Nocioni, E. Brand, S. Hawes

FIRST QUARTER
5:28 With Ron Artest’s wing deuce, the Lakers capped off a 10-0 run that allowed an 18-8 early edge in the team’s final game in 2010. The Lakers were simply exploiting their size advantages at nearly every positions, particularly at two guard as Bryant had already offered nine points in a big mismatch with the 6-4 Jodie Meeks.

4:40 It’s an intelligent fan base here in Los Angeles, which we saw as STAPLES offered Lamar Odom an extended ovation when he checked in off the bench for the first time at home this season. The fans understood how valuable Odom’s been this season as perhaps L.A.’s most consistent player, and appreciated his willingness to return to the bench.

0:00 The Lakers entirely controlled the first period, emerging with a 29-19 lead while shooting 52 percent and holding Philly to 38 percent from the field. Odom and Gasol combined for nine of L.A.’s 15 rebounds, one more than the Sixers managed as a team (eight), and helped the home team outscore Doug Collins’ squad 10-4 in the paint.

SECOND QUARTER
7:08 Most NBA players could have a New Year’s resolution is to become as good at anything basketball wise as Gasol is at any number of skills, including passing, as he picked Shannon Brown out for a wide-open layup after drawing defensive attention his way. Brown’s hoop preceded a little flip shot from Barnes that made it 39-29 L.A., restoring a double-digit lead that Philly had cut to four with an early

1:49 Artest’s first triple of the ballgame pushed his early total up to seven points with three rebound and three dimes in a solid individual half, while Odom hit double-digits in scoring in addition to his four boards and two assists. Only Derek Fisher (0-for-5 FG’s) and Bynum (1-for-4) had yet to get it going.

0:00.3 Despite a late mishap in which Odom threw the ball 60 feet down the floor to try and pick Bynum out for a final shot and misfired long, L.A. held onto an eight-point lead at the break, thanks to that size edge that produced a 25-17 advantage on the glass and a 24-16 difference in paint points.

THIRD QUARTER
7:00 Perhaps happier than anyone to have Bynum back protecting his back, Gasol reached 18 points with typical efficiency, making his eighth shot in 11 attempts to complement his eight rebounds, as the Lakers continued to lead by double digits.

2:38 Bryant continued to show the pair of fresh legs that produced perhaps his biggest dunk of the season back in the first half (a two-handed hammer jam through traffic) by slipping by both Andres Nocioni and Spencer Hawes for a lay-in off glass, bringing his game-high total to 21 points. Meanwhile, Bynum had grabbed six boards before ceding his spot to Odom, bringing his total to a season-high 11.

0:00 Matt Barnes made an unfortunate play to close the third, pushing Nocioni in the back while trying to grab an offensive board with one second left, which put the Argentinean forward at the free throw line all the way down the court. His two makes cut an 11-point lead to nine, 82-73, at the break.

FOURTH QUARTER
8:40 The Sixers continued to fight, rolling off a 12-6 run to open the fourth quarter, cutting further into L.A.’s once 14-point lead with a 88-85 margin. The Lakers had been scoring so easily with their length inside while Bryant and Gasol were in the game, but the second unit wasn’t living up to standard. Blake, Barnes and Brown had combined for only 11 points on 5-of-12 FG’s.

4:25 Make that a two-point margin. Lou Williams continued his hot streak off Philly’s bench, scoring nine of his 18 to make it a 94-92 contest in crunch time. Back came Gasol, replacing Bynum and his 15 rebounds, to try and help L.A. bury Philly.

2:00 Before the Spaniard had a chance, Odom continued his solid game by scoring back-to-back hoops to keep the Lakers up three despite a triple from Jrue Holiday, the UCLA product who’d produced 19 points and 11 assists. The 76ers were determined to make the Lakers earn a game they thought was well in hand.

0:02.3 A frantic final minute almost ended the wrong way for the Lakers, as both Williams and Holiday rimmed out potential lead-taking three-pointers. Nonetheless, Thaddeus Young knocked the second miss out of bounds trying to grab an offensive board, giving the Lakers the ball back with 2.3 seconds left. Bryant would draw a foul and sink both foul shots to ice the contest, giving L.A. their final victory of a fantastic all-around 2010 of course highlighted by an NBA title.

Bynum, Odom Swap Works At First

To Phil Jackson, L.A.’s formula for success en route to the past two championships is pretty simple.

“The force of our team is the length and the strength of our big guys,” he said after Thursday’s practice, a day after the team’s 103-88 victory in New Orleans. “Kobe (Bryant) drives the team, he has the energy for the team, but still it’s about making the defense have to look over their shoulders and help each other out inside, and then we can attack other places.”

That’s certainly what the Lakers have done in the past, and what they were able to do perhaps for the first time this season with 7-foot center Andrew Bynum returning to the starting line up after missing the first 24 games while recovering from offseason knee surgery and coming off the bench in the team’s past seven games.

He’d played an average of 17 minutes as the Lakers won four straight on the road against weaker opponents and then lost three straight, but on Wednesday in the Big Easy, Bynum was effective from the opening tip en route to 18 points with six rebounds in 30 minutes. Meanwhile, Lamar Odom — whom Jackson said has played at an All-Star level all season — willingly returned to the bench, then showed how little of a problem it was for him by scoring his career-high off the pine with 24 points.

“We knew we were going to have to make this move eventually, getting ‘Drew out there on the floor, and it was going to take a little bit of an experimental stage,” said Jackson. “Fortunately we came through with flying colors, but I thought it would be much more clumsy than it happened to be. We were able to do what we wanted to get done out there and shoot the ball well, too, so we’re happy with that.

“We know it’s going to take a little bit of time before we’re the full-fledged team that we think represents the championship teams that we’ve had.”

Perhaps so, but even with Bynum a few weeks away (in his estimation) of being fully ready to go, the Lakers looked like … well, the Lakers’ title teams in his first time playing regular minutes. The 23-year-old came through the game just fine, without any swelling, and will start against Philadelphia on Friday at Staples Center.

Bynum said that Odom’s been instrumental to his return, as L.A.’s most gregarious player has taken particular care to keep Bynum’s spirits up during his rehabilitation, telling him his starting spot was waiting as soon as he was ready. In New Orleans, Odom stood up to cheer on the bench when Bynum threw down his first alley-oop, then made 10-of-15 shots after checking in.

“He’s shooting 58 percent, and that’s one of the top shooters in the league,” said Jackson of Odom. “I think he’s very confident in what he can do out there on the floor. He knows what his game is, and he’s very comfortable assessing the game. He’s hungry for team play and he likes to help the team along.”

As for his willingness to return to the bench, a rarity for someone averaging 15.8 points and 9.8 rebounds?

“That’s the difference in championship teams,” explained Jackson. “We said it two years ago and last year, the difference is that you can guys that you can bring off the bench that are starters. In Lamar’s case, we have even an All-Star (willing to do it).”

Second All-Star Returns

CLICK HERE TO VOTE NOW!!!

The NBA has released the second returns for the 2011 All-Star voting and the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant still reigns as the top overall vote getter with 1,153,694 votes.

Forward Pau Gasol saw his grip on the second starting forward spot in the West slip as the Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony surpassed him by just five thousand votes. CLICK HERE TO VOTE NOW!!!

The full results are below.
Continue reading ‘Second All-Star Returns’

Andrew Bynum Post-New Orleans Quotes

Lakers center Andrew Bynum started his first game of the season at New Orleans on Wednesday night to quite a positive effect, as he scored a season-high 18 points in 30 minutes while grabbing six boards in a 103-88 victory. He answered questions after the game to discuss the contest, how his knee felt and what he thinks his return to the starting line up does for the Lakers:

On what moving back to the starting line up did and why it happened:
Bynum: I’ve been consciously trying to play well. I think that’s what you need to do, put that out in the universe and stay focused, and it comes back (to you). I put the work in at practice, and I think (Phil Jackson) just wanted to start me today because of the matchup with (Emeka) Okafor. That moved Pau to David West, and they really have a problem guarding two seven footers out there, so we could really attack this team with our length and that’s what we tried to do.

On if his two early dunks helped him build confidence mentally:
Bynum: Yes and no. I know that I still have some explosiveness to get back, some athleticism to get back. It’s just unfortunate that inside the season it’s tough to train off the court when you’re trying to get back. It’ll come in time, and I’ll be back to jumping (normally).

On being aggressive near the rim and establishing position:
Bynum: I’ve been working with (assistant coach) Chuck (Person) in that regard, trying to make sure that every single time the ball is opposite and my guy takes his eyes off me I really try to post up deep in the lane so I can be effective. If you lose a step or something like that you have to put yourself in spots to be effective, and I think that’s what I’m kind of doing.

On if starting makes a big difference:
Bynum: No, not really. I pretty much know, I’ve been (in the league) for six years. I know where I can be effective on the court, and how to get there. The only thing is doing it and staying healthy. I’m on my way back to being 100 percent. I’m going to just feel more comfortable out there on the block and play with my teammates. Obviously the first unit, they understand how to get me the ball, with Fish (Derek Fisher) and Kobe (Bryant).

On being called in by New Orleans to shoot two free throws after Matt Barnes was ejected:
Bynum: Oh yeah, that was crazy. I guess (Hornets Coach Monty Williams) watched the San Antonio game so he kinda figured that I couldn’t shoot ‘em. I was able to go out there and knock two down so hopefully I can build on that.

On his very positive relationship with Lamar Odom, who returned to the bench:
Bynum: He keeps everything light, man, that’s the best thing about him. He’s just a great guy, he’s funny as heck, and he understands the dynamic of the team. He understands that when he’s out there with the second unit he takes control of the game, and he’s able to do whatever he wants to do. It’s a fast break offense with that second unit, and he’s able to captain it and take hold of it. Basically, I think we just have two different ways of attacking and it makes us that much more effective. We come in one way and attack with length and power, and then the other way we come in with speed an finesse, and it just confuses teams a little bit.

On if there were a return to normalcy with the starting line up back from the playoffs:
Bynum: I think me just being a part of the rotation just kinda helps our team, just gives us that dual dynamic where we can switch up the flow in the game. I think that’s the biggest thing it does, and then it cuts guys’ minutes down. Being a part of the rotation helps, we get easy buckets, and defensively we’ll also change because we’ll plug (the paint) more with (Gasol and me) and then they’ll get a different look when L.O. (Odom) is in the game because he’s a little more active and he’s going to show and deflect balls.

On where his knee affects him:
Bynum: When I come in the game, it’s OK. The problem is when you sit down for a while it kinda gets stiff. That’s something that can be solved with the elliptical and bike. It affects me the most offensively, when you need to get that second jump or get that second or third effort on the offensive boards and things like that … just being able to stop, get yourself gathered and get back on defense is (still) coming.

Lakers 103, Hornets 88: Dec. 29 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Wednesday evening road contest at New Orleans as the Lakers looked to break a three-game losing streak, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Hornets: C. Paul, M. Bellinelli, T. Ariza, D. West, E. Okafor

FIRST QUARTER
12:00 So that was a surprise. Andrew Bynum, who looked pretty good the previous night in San Antonio, made his first start of the season for the Lakers. Phil Jackson implied prior to Tuesday’s game that he didn’t expect Bynum to start within the next few games, but it was the 7-footer who lined up to take the opening tip.

2:30 Five early turnovers on the Lakers allowed the Hornets to take an 16-12 lead, but when actually setting up in the half court L.A. executed very well, making 10-of-13 shots with Bynum contributing six points, a board and a block. Jackson kept him in the game while giving Gasol an early rest as Odom checked in for the first time, at which point L.A. promptly went on an 8-2 run to open a 22-18 lead.

0:08.0 Bryant’s too-short fadeaway to close the quarter was a rare misfire for L.A. in the first, as the Purple and Gold finished at 12-of-16 from the field, otherwise known as 75 percent. Bynum was 3-of-4, Kobe 3-of-5 and Fisher, Gasol, Odom and Blake a combined 5-for-5. Keeping New Orleans around were seven Lakers turnovers, and Chris Paul’s 5-for-6 from the field.

SECOND QUARTER
8:02 Putting Odom on the bench seemed to do wonders for L.A. on this Wednesday night, as he had quickly amassed nine points in nine minutes on 4-of-5 shooting, seemingly doing whatever he wanted on offense. Odom told me two weeks ago that he was more than prepared mentally to return to the bench, feeling that he was in a great state of mind to do so, and has encouraged Bynum throughout his return to full health with promises that his starting spot was sitting there waiting for him. In related news to Odom’s play, plus a big talent mismatch with he and Gasol joining the Killer B’s against a relatively weak Hornets bench, L.A. took a 38-29 lead.

4:48 Moments later, the lead was up to 16, as Odom added two free throws with his team continuing to shoot lights out from the field (71.4 percent). In that same conversation, Odom told me that he can tell how comfortable he is based on how he’s shooting free throws, and these two swished right through to give him a game-high 11.

0:00 It was more of the same in the final four minutes, the Lakers closing the half at 67.6 percent with 15 assists to their credit, the same number they mustered in the entire game at San Antonio. Bynum, Gasol and Odom were a combined 11-of-14 from the field as the Lakers were excellent at getting the ball inside.
Continue reading ‘Lakers 103, Hornets 88: Dec. 29 Running Diary’

Lakers Draw Hornets on Back-to-Back

A night after falling to San Antonio in Texas, the Lakers find themselves 545 miles east for a Wednesday evening contest against the New Orleans Hornets.

Just like the Lakers, New Orleans opened the season 8-0 before falling to Dallas by three, and then won three more to reach 11-1 and rank first in the NBA while beating quality opponents like San Antonio, Denver, Miami and the Mavericks in a back-to-back rematch. But since then, the Hornets have struggled, going 7-12 to bring their record to 18-13, down to sixth in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Lakers certainly haven’t been playing good basketball, losing three straight games by double figures to fall to 21-10, tied with Utah for third in the West.

As much as it’s difficult to look past what’s plaguing the Lakers right now, whether it’s Kobe Bryant’s field goal percentage in the last five games (39 percent), Pau Gasol not playing like Pau Gasol (15.8 points per game in last five), Andrew Bynum not being fully ready yet (despite looking better against the Spurs) or a lack of consistent defensive energy, Phil Jackson is taking the long view. He, of course, has been down this road with a twice-defending champion three times in the past.

“The idea is to come into the playoffs in the best shape you can as a team,” said Jackson. “You want to have home court advantage in the first round, get your game going. We’re still 50 games away from there. There’s a long ways to go.

“The contagion is to be calm under duress, and that’s what we want them to have. Anger is OK. Frustration is going to happen when you don’t shoot the ball well.”

Against New Orleans, shooting it well should prove important, because an athletic, stingy Hornets D has allowed 100 points only seven times this season. Plagued by a lack of typical ball movement, the Lakers have failed to score more than 82 points in their last three losses.

Bryant’s 8-for-27 shooting struggle against San Antonio typified that lack of ball movement, and had both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol suggesting after the game that the Lakers need to return to their general game plan of getting the basketball inside. At the same time, the Lakers acknowledged that Bryant’s aggressive nature on offense can be both positive and necessary, if not for an entire game.

“I liked his energy to come out and set a tone,” said Jackson. “I thought in the 4th quarter he had a chance to get himself going again, even though in 3rd quarter nothing seemed to go right for him. He came out with a purpose and established something. He took the first seven shots, six shots; made the first (three), and then it was time to slow it down a bit and get everybody involved.”

Bryant was at least happy to see the team’s defense improve, and it did particularly in the first half until all the missed shots in the second stanza led to easy run outs upon which San Antonio capitalized.

“The effort was there,” said No. 24. “It was much better. I couldn’t put the ball in the basket and it snowballed from there. It’s my responsibility to make them. I had some really good looks. I gotta put those down, period.”

Bryant’s always been able to shift his game around what the defense shows him when he wants to, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him engage Gasol, Bynum and Lamar Odom early against the Hornets, who will likely start former Laker — not to mention the guy who defended Bryant during pregame warm ups — Trevor Ariza on Bryant. The Hornets also start shooter Marco Belinelli on the wing, with David West and Emeka Okafor manning the front court positions and, of course, Chris Paul running the show.

Paul’s scoring and assist numbers are down from a season ago alongside his minutes, as he’s playing only 34.8 per game instead of the 38 he averaged in 2009-10, due in part to a sore knee. Nonetheless, the Lakers expect a steady diet of CP3 pick and roll action, and will have to show that they can defend it.

The contest tips at 5 p.m. Pacific, and you can watch on KCAL/9 HD or listen on 710 ESPN radio.

Spurs 97, Lakers 82: Dec. 28 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Tuesday evening road contest at San Antonio, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Odom and Gasol
Spurs: T. Parker, M. Ginobili, R. Jefferson, D. Blair, T. Duncan

FIRST QUARTER
10:36 So Kobe came out aggressively, to say the least. He opened with a banked jumper, a rattled home deep two, and then a twisting fadeaway in the lane to give the Lakers an early 8-3 lead. All business from No. 24, who made his feelings pretty clear after the loss to Miami that he was ready for L.A. to pick things up.

6:19 While San Antonio managed to get some jumpers to fall, the Lakers continued to look like the team that Phil Jackson said pregame he really wasn’t worried about getting things together with 52 regular season games left, and not the one the got blown out twice consecutively at home. LAL made 7-for-11 shots to take a 16-11 lead and force Gregg Popovich to take a time out. Bryant had eight of the team’s first 10 points, while Artest added two buckets, but off drives to the hoop.

2:03 … And then the offense disappeared for four minutes. Bryant missed four shots and turned the ball over three times (two of them under his personal protest of being fouled), and L.A. wasn’t able to get the ball inside while the Spurs went on a 9-0 run at the other end to open a 20-16 lead. Bynum’s entrance, however, was productive right away, as he changed Tony Parker’s shot on one end and made Tiago Splitter look bad on a baseline spin for a layup at the other. However, that was to be L.A.’s only bucket of the final six minutes, and the Spurs added back-to-back threes from Gary Neal and Matt Bonner (at the buzzer) to end the quarter on a 16-2 run that produced a 27-18 lead after one.

SECOND QUARTER
9:19 OK, take that big Spurs run and completely reverse it towards the purple and gold jerseys… With a bench group of Blake-Barnes-Brown-Gasol-Bynum, L.A. shut the paint down defensively and fed it inside at the other end, producing a 9-0 run with the likes of Bryant, Odom, Duncan, Ginobili and Parker watching from the sideline.

6:15 Brown got yanked after a poor turnover in transition and then a failure to get the ball inside on the next possession (Kobe re-entering), but Odom nailed a three and Gasol an and-1 layup to tie the score at 34. Gasol averaged 21 points and 13 boards against the Spurs last season, and while he’d taken only six shots (making three), his defense was solid, as shown through three blocks and six boards.

0:10.0 Remember how hot Bryant started the game? Well, he would go on to miss his final nine shots of the half, growing frustrated with contact enough to draw double technicals with George Hill, and turned the ball over four times in the half. However, L.A.’s defense was as good as it’s been in a while, its rotations and help crisp as the Spurs managed only 15 second quarter points to L.A.’s 26, producing a two-point halftime lead after being down nine after one.
Continue reading ‘Spurs 97, Lakers 82: Dec. 28 Running Diary’

San Antonio’s Early Sets

The San Antonio Spurs have been a defensively structured team for the majority of their run with Coach Gregg Popovich and center Tim Duncan, using a formula that’s produced more success than any team not named the Lakers since 1999, to the tune of four NBA championships.

But this season, the Spurs have been a whole different beast on offense, actually scoring the fourth most points in the NBA (106.2), while leading the NBA in three-point shooting (40.8 percent) and ranking third in assists (24.1) and fourth in overall field goal percentage (47.3 percent). And while Phil Jackson said after Monday’s practice in L.A. that Tim Duncan remains a central piece to what they’re doing on offense despite his more limited playing time (29 minutes per game) and scoring (13.6 points), the Lakers recognize that San Antonio’s early offensive flow game led by Tony Parker and often finished by Manu Ginobili and Richard Jefferson is piling up some serious points.

In fact, the Lakers video scouting and coaching staff put together a detailed description of this offensive element, which you can read in full over at the Lakers Courtside Connection, and which we’ll summarize below:

The Spurs have been buttering a lot of bread with an offensive sequence they call “WEAK,” which begins with Parker delivering the ball to the wing and making a cut over to the opposite wing, where the ball swings back his way. Duncan will use a screen to get over to that side, and if Parker doesn’t want to call Duncan’s number, he can look for the screener to pop off Tim’s man. If none of those early options are on, Parker will run another screen and roll called “WEAK ROLL” with Duncan that — in contrast with most screen rolls — takes place below the free throw line extended and changes defensive coverages.

Now, if San Antonio still hasn’t gotten a shot it likes out of that action, they can run something called “WEAK DOUBLE,” which starts similar to “WEAK” but has Parker come back to the strong side of the screens and attack the defense himself.

In addition to the myriad other sets the Spurs run, this is what L.A.’s coaches have gone through with the Lakers players, and upon what Kobe Bryant and Co. will try and focus at the 5:30 p.m. (Pacific) tip. Particularly after getting blown out twice at home, the Lakers have a bit of extra motivation to try and hand San Antonio just their third home loss of the season. How the Lakers play against San Antonio’s early offensive sets and how they respond mentally will go a long way towards seeing whether L.A. avoids a rare third straight loss.

Lakers – Heat Postgame Numbers

We highlighted some of the more interesting numbers from L.A.’s 96-80 Christmas Day loss to the Miami Heat at STAPLES Center, which dropped the team’s record to 21-9 on the season.

52 Games left for the Lakers to re-discover their championship mojo. Kobe Bryant summed things up pretty well after the contest: “I’m not frustrated, just upset. I think these games mean more to our opponents than they do to us, and I think we need to get that straight. We need to play with more focus, and put more importance on these games. I don’t like it. We know what we’re capable of doing – that’s the problem.” Phil Jackson added a “Just be patient with us. We’ll be fine.”

52 Combined points (27), rebounds (11), assists (10) and steals (four) for LeBron James in a terrific all-around individual effort.

40.5 L.A.’s shooting percentage for the game, compared with Miami’s 44.3 ercent.

24.0 Field goal percentage for the Lakers in the first quarter, which allowed Miami a 20-14 advantage despite L.A.’s generally good defense. The Lakers did not move the ball particularly well, and saw stars Bryant and Gasol miss all 11 shots they collectively attempted.

21 Miami’s biggest lead. L.A.’s was five, which came early in the first quarter. “No surprise to us as a coaching staff,” said Jackson. “We’re just not playing very good ball.”

18 Points scored by L.A.’s bench. Shannon Brown had 10 of ‘em, while Steve Blake struggled in missing all five of his shot attempts, all from three. Miami’s didn’t offer much more scoring, with 19, but the Heat’s starters outscored L.A.’s 77-62.

18 More points in the paint for the Lakers (44-26), though it didn’t matter as the Heat made seven more free throws, three more triples and far more perimeter jumpers.

17 The most points scored by any Laker, as both Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol reached that number of points but struggled to hit shots throughout. Gasol was 8-for-17, and Bryant 6-for-16.

9 Triples made by the Heat, thanks in large part to James’s making his first five from long range.

4 Fastbreak points for the Heat, one of the few areas in which the Lakers did what they wanted to prior to the game.

1 Blocked shot for the Lakers, who came in averaging 5.7 per game. Part of the explanation is that Miami rarely took the ball to the rim, scoring only 26 points in the paint, and when they did were generally getting to the foul line (20 attempts).