Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Thursday evening road contest at Miami, the Lakers looking for their second road win of the season (to four losses) with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Barnes, Gasol and Bynum
Heat: M. Chalmers, S. Battier*, L. James, C. Bosh, J. Anthony
*Usual sub Shane Battier starts this one, charged with guarding Kobe, as Dwyane Wade’s ankle had him inactive.
12:00 To highlight their blackout with all black uniforms (jerseys and shorts in black, with white trim), Miami came out to ACDC’s “Back in Black,” while the Heat played Kanye West’s “All of the Lights” interlude during L.A.’s line up introductions. The Lakers came out in their usual home gold.
7:48 The Lakers had early success in the paint, as they often do when committing to post up opportunities, getting 3-of-4 FG’s from Gasol and two Bynum free throws towards eight early points. Meanwhile, the Heat had trouble getting much aside from jumpers, L.A. successfully packing the paint, making 2-of-7 field goals to trail by three (Chalmers got loose for a three in transition).
0:00 A poor offensive quarter for everyone but Gasol (4-for-7 for 11 points) concluded on a positive, as Bryant hit his first shot in six attempts and added two free throws in a 25-20 quarter. LeBron was on early triple-double watch with six points, four boards and four assists, the entire offense running through him with Wade in street clothes.
7:53 What’s been an early season problem for L.A. since the outset continued to plague them to start the second, as the bench was simply unable to create many good looks. Aside from a Bynum back down of Bosh, L.A. went 0-for-6, mostly on contested jump shots. Meanwhile, Mike Miller’s transition 3-pointer put the Heat up 33-22.
3:56 Even with Bryant and Gasol back in, L.A. struggled to get clean looks, netting just one point even on consecutive Heat turnovers. Gasol did offer a pretty lefty half hook in the paint to reach a game-high 13 points, but Miami led 40-29. Another big difference came from downtown, Miami converting 6-of-9 to L.A.’s 2-for-10.
9:56 Kobe’s pull-up 20-footer was the third straight made J for L.A., following his assists to Fisher and Gasol, but the Heat still led by 11 thanks to a 15-point halftime cushion. It may have been closer, but first LeBron, and then Anthony swatted Barnes at the rim in transition, as he attempted layups.
3:00 Playing some terrific basketball was Gasol, a tough baseline shot giving him 21 points on 9-of-15 field goals … yet the Lakers trailed 73-54 after back-to-back wide open layups for the Heat. L.A. simply wasn’t matching Miami’s energy.
0:00 At quarter’s end, Miami’s lead swelled to 21 at 77-56, L.A. shooting just 37.9 percent and going to the line only 12 times.
8:30 Looking for a bright spot? Troy Murphy had something to offer, hitting all four of his perimeter shots, mostly off pick and pops, for eight bench points. Alas, L.A. still trailed 87-69.
3:00 Riding the continued hot hand of Gasol (11-for-17, season-high 26 points), and a few long 3′s from Kobe (including one off the glass) and all of a sudden the Lakers were within 10 … though it was too little, too late. The starters were only in the game, having been down 20 early in the fourth, because Mike Brown wanted to use the period for practice, such was the lack of contact they’d been able to have in an actual practice since the season started.
0:00 Your final: Heat 98, Lakers 87. Bryant manage 14 fourth quarter points that ultimately didn’t matter, plus seven assists and five boards, while Gasol finished with 26 and eight boards. Meanwhile, Bynum got another double-double with 15 points and 12 boards, while LeBron led Miami with 31 points, eight boards and eight dimes. Generally speaking, it was simply the first really poor effort from L.A. on the season; the game was, for all intents and purposes, over late in the second quarter.
Up next is a Friday back leg of a back-to-back, against Orlando. See you there.