User ID
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Betting Tools

Heat 99, Lakers 90

LOS ANGELES (AP) - For a few exciting minutes in the fourth quarter, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers resembled the championship-caliber dynamo everybody expected this season, making a big run and surging past the Miami Heat.

And then LeBron James calmly demonstrated why the Heat are the defending NBA champions and the Lakers are in 11th place in the Western Conference.

James had 39 points and eight assists, Dwyane Wade added 27 points on his 31st birthday and the Heat held off the Lakers 99-90 Thursday night, scoring the final nine points to finish their six-game road trip in style.

``We closed out the trip the right way, and we want to build from it,'' James said. ``We wanted to do much better, of course, after the way we started, losing to Indiana and Portland.''

They finished up just fine at Staples Center, getting their second win in their last eight games here against the Lakers.

Ray Allen scored seven of his nine points in the final 5 minutes as the Heat repelled a late charge by the Lakers, who lost for the seventh time in nine games. The Lakers challenged the champs, but James closed out the Heat's sixth road game in 10 days with a flurry of clutch baskets and solid defensive play, often against Bryant.

``I thought we played well enough to beat them,'' Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. ``That's a championship team. They turned on all the juices, so it's a good measuring stick. That's what they do, and we have to get better. We've got to get smoother.''

Bryant scored 13 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter for Los Angeles, but later lamented his lack of aggression in the first three quarters. Dwight Howard had 13 points and 16 rebounds, but missed two key free throws with 1:51 left while Miami pulled away, capping the All-Star starting center's 5-for-13 effort at the line.

Miami held a narrow lead for most of the first three quarters until Bryant hit two 3-pointers and two jumpers during a 14-3 Lakers run to an 84-81 lead in the fourth quarter.

Allen put the Heat back ahead with a 3-pointer with 4:55 to play, but Bryant tied it with his third 3-pointer of the quarter with 2:33 left. After Wade hit a jumper, Howard missed two free throws - airballing the first - and Allen hit a high-arching jumper in the paint before James iced it with a short bank shot with 49 seconds left.

``On the road, when things don't always go your way, you don't have your momentum and you don't have the confidence of your home crowd, you have to just find different ways to grind,'' Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. ``This is a perfect example of that. We never really got into a great flow offensively until late in the fourth quarter.''

Metta World Peace scored 16 points for the Lakers, who committed 20 turnovers and didn't score in the final 2 1/2 minutes. Yet they largely saw a solid effort against the mighty Heat is cause for optimism in Hollywood.

``It's not much of a setback,'' Bryant said. ``They played very well. They obviously have a familiarity, been playing together, and they know where they want to be in their spots. They executed down the stretch. LeBron made some tough shots.''

Pau Gasol had 12 points and four rebounds in his return from a five-game absence with a concussion for the Lakers, who had hoped to build on consecutive victories following a six-game losing streak that knocked them well out of the West playoff picture.

James and Wade got little help until Allen's late flurry, but they didn't need it. Chris Bosh had just seven points and six rebounds in 35 minutes for Miami.

``LeBron is going to get his points, but if we control Dwyane and Chris Bosh, we have a better chance of winning,'' Howard said. ``Tonight, D-Wade, he had it going on the offensive end.''

Bryant scored at least 20 points in his 23rd consecutive game, but the NBA's leading scorer missed 14 of his first 17 shots.

The game featured four of the 10 starters in next month's All-Star game, with Bryant edging James by roughly 7,800 votes as the top vote-getter in the final results announced earlier in the day. Wade and Howard also will start in Houston.

Bryant is headed to his 15th All-Star game in 17 NBA seasons, starting a record 15 consecutive times, while Howard will be a seven-time All-Star.

Earl Clark stayed in the Lakers' starting lineup on his 25th birthday, but Gasol played well off the bench in his first game since Denver's JaVale McGee elbowed him in the face Jan. 6.

NOTES: The Lakers visit Miami on Feb. 10 in the final stop of their seven-game road trip while the Grammy Awards take over Staples Center. Los Angeles hasn't won at American Airlines Arena since Feb. 10, 2008. ... Bryant scored at least 20 points in 62 straight games from December 2005 to April 2006. ... Mark Wahlberg, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Queen Latifah, Ellen Pompeo, director Ron Howard and Los Angeles Kings players Dustin Penner, Drew Doughty and Trevor Lewis watched from courtside.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

David: Inside the Paint - Thursday
News: 2016-17 Win Total Best Bets
Marshall: East Betting Outlook
Marshall: West Betting Outlook
Lakers run past Rockets as home 'dogs
Grizzlies rally to stun Wolves, 102-98
Pacers outlast Mavericks in OT, 130-121
Heat cruise past Magic as road 'dogs
Westbrook, Thunder sneak by 76ers
Why Buy Picks From
NBA Pro Basketball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Paul Bovi + 3334
Chip Chirimbes + 2359
Kevin Rogers + 2258
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Paul Bovi 59 %
Greg Smith 57 %
Marc Lawrence 55 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Paul Bovi + 1899
Jimmy Boyd + 1029
Stephen Nover + 839
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 2612
Paul Bovi + 1349
NeiltheGreek + 553
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 2846
Paul Bovi + 1160
Mark Franco + 1143
NBA Pro Basketball Expert Sports Picks - Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Gary Bart + 518
Zack Cimini + 300
Jimmy Boyd + 290
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
Gary Bart + 518
Zack Cimini + 300
Jimmy Boyd + 290
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Brian Edwards 100 %
Paul Bovi 100 %
Kyle Hunter 100 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Stephen Nover + 200
Doc's Sports + 200
Kevin Rogers + 200
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 290
The Gold Sheet + 200
Bill Marzano + 200
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bill Marzano + 200
Jimmy Boyd + 200
Mark Franco + 100
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership