Skip to content

Sleeved jerseys not enough to stop LeBron, Heat in Christmas Day win over Lakers

Dec 25, 2013, 8:56 PM EST

LeBron Christmas sleeved jersey Getty Images

LOS ANGELES – The Heat got more of a fight than maybe they were expecting in their Christmas Day matchup with the Lakers, but eventually showed enough on both ends of the floor to get the job done.

Behind 23 points apiece from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, Miami used a 9-0 run late in the fourth to gain separation and finish with a 101-96 victory to improve its record to 22-6 on the season.

The Lakers started off more active and engaged than the defending champs, and led by as many as 10 points in the first quarter. L.A. was determined to try to beat the Heat with three-point shooting, and by halftime had launched 20 of their 45 attempts from beyond the arc.

Even though they made just six, it was a plan that continued with more success in the second half, when the team made five of its next 10.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said he anticipated this course of action, and felt that his team defended the long ball well for the most part.

“They’re fifth on threes attempted, so that’s a little bit more how they play anyway,” he said. “Teams will try to get us moving, try to get us to play out of our rotations. That’s not a secret, everybody’s been doing that for a while. We do play an aggressive, disruptive style so at times we’re exposed and we have to cover ground.

“They did launch some threes; early on, they were getting some wide open ones where we weren’t even near them, or making that extra effort to contest and making them put the ball on the floor. Then we were able to get them to make that next play, and then from there it was just inconsistent.”

LeBron James had a quiet game by his standards, finishing with 19 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Even though he shot 7-of-14 from the field, a closer look shows that he was 6-of-6 at the rim, but just 1-of-8 while shooting from the outside.

Earlier in the week James had said that he and his teammates were concerned about the special, sleeved jerseys that they and all the teams playing on Christmas would be wearing, and he blamed his poor jump shooting on them afterward.

“It was definitely a different feel,” James said. “Every time I shot it from the free throw line or shot a jumper I felt a little tug, so maybe I’ll go up to another bigger size next time we wear them, or … I’m not going to tell you what the other alternative is, but I definitely felt it for sure.

“For me, I’m not a great shooter,” he continued. “So any little error that goes on can affect my shot.”

James was much more effective in transition, where the Heat are among the deadliest teams in the game. He and Wade connected on not one, but two incredible alley-oops on the break in the first half which had even Lakers fans out of their seats in excitement.

“Anytime D Wade gets on the break, I just try to chase him down,” said LeBron. “I’m not sure if he’s going to go in for it or if he’s going to throw the lob to me. I had no idea what he was going to do with it. He was looking at me, I didn’t know where he was going to go with it, if he was going to toss it to me or throw it up. But the one off the glass, the only way I could catch it was with my left, so I had to improvise.”

On the Lakers side, they saw Jordan Farmar return to the lineup after missing time with a hamstring injury, and despite his understandable rust, the offense ran noticeably smoother with a capable point guard in charge. L.A. got solid performances from Nick Young and Xavier Henry off the bench, enough to keep things close and make a couple of runs.

The Heat were ultimately too much in this one, however, and despite the victory coming against a depleted Lakers team that sits at 13-16 on the season, any road victory in the NBA is cause for celebration — even by the defending champs playing a sub-.500 team.

“This road trip will continue to get tougher as we go, and we’ll need to play better basketball,” Spoelstra said. “But a road win, you never take those for granted.”

Latest Posts
  1. Grizzlies GM: “We have every intention of re-signing Marc Gasol”

    Nov 24, 2014, 8:30 AM EST

    Boston Celtics v Memphis Grizzlies Boston Celtics v Memphis Grizzlies

    Memphis can offer more money than anyone else, but Gasol will have options.

  2. PBT’s Sunday Night NBA Winners/Losers: You may want to try and cover Marc Gasol

    Nov 24, 2014, 2:36 AM EST

    Marc Gasol Marc Gasol

    Few teams have been more of a let down so far this season than Charlotte.

  3. Andrea Bargnani out indefinitely after suffering calf strain

    Nov 23, 2014, 2:01 PM EST

    Andrea Bargnani Andrea Bargnani

    Bargnani was close to a return from his hamstring injury.

  4. Report: Free agent market for Jeff Green is as strong ‘if not stronger’ than it is for Rajon Rondo

    Nov 23, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

    Jeff Green Jeff Green

    Combination of a lower price tag and a more diverse overall skill set may explain why.

  5. Andrew Wiggins drops career high 29 on Sacramento (VIDEO)

    Nov 23, 2014, 9:30 AM EST

    Sacramento Kings v Minnesota Timberwolves Getty Images

    When he uses his athleticism to get to the rim good things happen.

  6. LeBron James: “We’re a very fragile team right now”

    Nov 23, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

    Toronto Raptors v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    “This is not even the lowest it’s going to get for us.” —LeBron James

  7. Anthony Davis goes off for 43 points (VIDEO)

    Nov 23, 2014, 1:04 AM EST

    Anthony Davis Anthony Davis

    There was nothing the Utah Jazz could do.

  8. Damian Lillard on flagrant foul from Bulls’ Mike Dunleavy: ‘It was a cheap play’

    Nov 22, 2014, 8:30 PM EST

    Chicago Bulls v Portland Trail Blazers Chicago Bulls v Portland Trail Blazers

    Dunleavy says he was just trying to foul to stop the clock. Watch and decide for yourself.

  9. Dwight Howard out vs. Mavericks Saturday, no timetable for his return

    Nov 22, 2014, 7:06 PM EST

    San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets

    With him and starting power forward Terrence Jones out, the Rockets are very thin up front.

Featured video

Can Rockets, Grizzlies keep up hot starts?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (7951)
  2. D. Wade (7063)
  3. K. Durant (6621)
  4. P. Gasol (6057)
  5. R. Westbrook (5476)
  1. D. Howard (5342)
  2. T. Jones (5211)
  3. O. Asik (5063)
  4. R. Gay (4853)
  5. D. Lee (4815)