Despite the scoreline suggesting the Los Angeles Lakers managed to make a game of their visit to the Miami Heat, the NBA champions never trailed in their 109-102 win, getting a fantastic combined performance from LeBron James and Chris Bosh, still missing the third angle in the Big Three triangle.
Chris Bosh scored 31 points on 15-of-22 from the field, hitting mid range shots, one after the other. It wasn’t like the Lakers defense was really going to stop him, or LeBron James (27 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists) overpowering the defense time after time.
Mike D’Antoni explained it probably better than anyone. The Miami Heat aren’t really close to the Los Angeles Lakers in any way, and their inner struggles are completely different from those of a bad team like the Lakers.
They are probably battling complacency. But all that really matters is winning championships. That’s their problem. We’re just trying to win a game — two different teams on two different tracks.
With just under three minutes left in the game, a Jodie Meeks 3-pointer made it a four point game, providing some drama for the final minutes. Should have provided was more like it. James slowly brought the ball up the court and nailed a dagger 3-point shot (2-of-4 for him, 40% for the Heat in the game) to make it a 7 point game with 2:27 left, and killing the Lakers’ last chance of a comeback.
The Heat played without Dwyane Wade for a third consecutive game. Against the Lakers, who presented no evidence of playing defense, it didn’t make too much of a difference. For a second straight game, the Heat made the most of one stretch to play good enough defense to give themselves an advantage for the rest of the game.
We know what he’s capable of doing. When he’s got his midrange working like that he’s pretty dangerous. And that rim looked mighty big for him tonight.
For some reason, Chris Bosh having big nights like this still surprises people, forgetting he’s probably the best mid-range shooter among big men in the NBA; forgetting that if he was playing for a different team, or about half the league, he would have been the number one go to guy every night, scoring more than 20 points a game. The fact that he does different things on most occasions to help the Heat win doesn’t mean he’s forgotten how to score.
For a year or two, this was a trademark game for the NBA, but no more. Kobe Bryant is getting his photo ops these days by making disappointed faces on the bench. Pau Gasol is putting up nice numbers (22 points), so is Nick Young (19 points off the bench); Jodie Meeks had a good game with 22 points as well. However, there’s no substance to this team. They play quick offense that enables scoring a lot of points, but even teams that struggle with fast pace have no problem making a laughing stock out of their defense. This season is lost, and who knows how long it’s going to take before the Lakers are back where they’re used to be. Not even the return of Kobe Bryant is going to make too much of a difference.