Heat "Dunkadelic Flight-361" Slams Lakers, LeBron's Triple-Double
With five minutes remaining in the game, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James walked shoulder to shoulder down the court jawing at each other back and forth. While Christmas cheer might have been lost in that exchange, James and the Heat got their message across loud and clear not only to the two-time defending champs but also to the rest of the league.
"We're not trying to make a statement to anyone," James said. "We're trying to show each other that we can play at a high level and try to get better every game. This is one game. ... We're happy because we got better today."
In a game that was hyped since the schedule was released this season, the Heat, behind a triple-double from James, lit up the Lakers, 96-80, Saturday afternoon at Staples Center.
Miami "Dunkadelic Flight 361" (23-9) was led by James' game-high 27 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and four steals. Chris Bosh tallied 24 points and 13 rebounds, and Dwyane Wade chipped in with 18 points and six assists.
Early in the first quarter with the Lakers up 8-4 Chris Bosh threw down a monster dunk and got fouled to complete a three-point play. From that point the Heat started its demolition of Los Angeles.
For the Lakers (21-9), Bryant and Pau Gasol each finished with 17 points and Lamar Odom contributed 14 points and nine rebounds.
There is no sugar-coating what happened in this game. Los Angeles rolled over and Miami, which led by as many as 21, rose up. The Lakers were grounded on the defensive-end by the Heat who are considered the best half-court defensive team in the league.
Los Angeles' effort against Miami was especially surprising after just being embarrassed by the lowly Bucks three days ago. The Lakers traded a listless performance against Milwaukee for an uninspired effort against the Miami, which has now won 14 of its last 15 games and nine straight on the road. In that same 15-game span, the Lakers have been a pedestrian 8-7 and are now 2-4 against teams with a winning record.
Boos rained down on Miami's Dunkadelic-Flight-361 trio when player introductions were made at the start of the game, but that didn't stop James, Bosh and Wade, who played well despite being hampered by a sore left knee. The trio, who scored the team's first 17 points, helped Miami rattle off a 13-2 run while the Lakers missed 10 straight during that span. Los Angeles was manhandled in the first quarter as Miami held the Lakers to just 14 points in the first quarter.
Not much went right for the Lakers early. Ron Artest picked up two fouls in the first 2:34 of play. In the first quarter, Bryant missed all four of his shots and Gasol was 0-for-7. The only saving grace was Andrew Bynum, who finished with six points, scoring back-to-back baskets in the post as the Lakers trailed 20-14 at the end of the first quarter.
The Heat are much better than the 9-8 unit that started the season. Their team defense has improved and with that their overall chemistry has become lethal.
Dwyane Wade said after the game, "that it this was only one game, but he got his Christmas gift."