Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Sunday afternoon road contest against Miami, the seventh and final game in 12 days on the Grammy road trip (L.A. 4-2), with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Nash, Bryant, World Peace, Clark and Howard
Heat: M. Chalmers, D. Wade, L. James, U. Haslem, C. Bosh
3:57 For the third time in the first quarter, Kobe Bryant found Steve Nash for a bucket, the first two near the rim and the second on a wide open three from the top of the key. The make put the Lakers up 17-14, and they added two points when Nash found Earl Clark for an alley-oop layup to allow an early 5-point margin. Nice start for the Lakers, who’d managed not to pick up a team foul after amassing four in the first five minutes.
0:00 After not taking a shot in the first six minutes, LeBron got aggressive, amassing 10 points in the period by hitting all three of his shots and four free throws. But it was the Lakers with the lead after one, since Bryant’s fifth assist got Steve Blake a wide open corner three that he buried to make it 26-25 for the road team. Mike D’Antoni’s team was playing in its eighth game in 13 days, but had pretty good energy to start.
8:58 Jodie Meeks, so key in L.A.’s comeback at Charlotte on Friday (energetic defense and four three-point makes), hit his first triple of the game to start the second, and Clark continued his aggressive play by putting his own miss back, allowing 11 points with four boards. Then came the second Howard field goal on a nice post move from left to right, giving L.A. its biggest lead at 38-31.
6:00 The second unit of Steve Blake, Meeks, Clark, MWP and Howard continued to play well, outscoring Miami 16-10 to open a 7-point lead. Back in came Kobe a few moments later, and he immediately hit a J to counter Wade’s layup. Yet a minute later, Mario Chalmers put back his own miss with L.A. failing to clear the glass, and LeBron scored easily in transition to give himself 12 points (one more than Clark) and cut the LAL lead to three at the 4:01 mark.
0:00 It wasn’t a great final few minutes for the visitors, as they failed to take advantage of LeBron having to sit the final three minutes with three fouls, allowing Miami to tie the game at 53 heading into the tunnel. Miami was actually on fire when they managed to get shots off, hitting 59.5 percent of their attempts, but they turned it over nine times towards 13 Lakers points.
8:15 The teams were still tied four minutes into the second half, with some odd occurrences out there, like Howard/Haslem getting into it and being called for a double foul, LeBron getting a technical after a call he didn’t like, and Nash getting upset with Howard when the big man failed to properly execute a screen/roll. It’s very, very rare to see Nash get visibly upset with a teammate out on the floor, and says something about how frustrated he’s gotten with Howard. Often times, Howard hasn’t fully set a screen to free Nash up, and then hasn’t rolled hard to the rim, which can kill the play and leave the point guard hanging. Howard also had only three rebounds, L.A. down 28-14 on the glass to the NBA’s worst rebounding team.
2:27 Kobe scored nine of his 18 points in the third quarter, his and-1 over Chris Andersen in the paint with his left hand tying the game up at 71, in what had been a hotly-contested quarter of a very good basketball game.
4:30 Behind nine points from Dwyane Wade in the first six minutes of the period – he and LeBron were both 6 for 10 from the field – the Heat built their biggest lead at seven, where it stayed for a few minutes until two Kobe free throws made it 91-86. Bryant was up to 22 points on 9 of 17 field goals with his eight assists, but Miami had taken control of the game.
0:00 The Heat simply outplayed the Lakers in the fourth quarter, with both Wade (30 points on 12 of 18 field goals) and LeBron (32 points on 12 of 18 as well) going off, L.A. hurting itself with eight turnovers after committing only seven in the first three quarters. They ran the O almost exclusively through Kobe on the post, which worked at times (he had 28 points on 11 of 19 shooting with nine assists and six boards), as they essentially abandoned a pick and roll game not really working with Howard. With the 107-97 loss, L.A. fell to 4-3 on the Grammy trip, and 1-2 since Pau Gasol suffered the tear of his plantar fascia. Up next are two home games before the All-Star break, starting with Phoenix on Tuesday. We’ll see you there.