Heat

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade lead Miami Heat past Los Angeles Lakers

 

LeBron James set a franchise record with his fifth game in a row with at least 30 points as the Heat showed up the Lakers on Sunday.

jgoodman@MiamiHerald.com

Whether Heat officials kicked Lil’ Wayne out of AmericanAirlines Arena on Sunday or he left on his own, the rapper is probably kicking himself today for not being in his courtside seat for the second half.

Just witnessing LeBron James’ breakaway alley-oop from Norris Cole firsthand was worth being in the building.

That highlight was one of many for the Heat in a dominant second-half performance against the Lakers. The Heat defeated the Lakers 107-97 in yet another historically significant game in the career of James. With 32 points on just 18 shots, James became the first player in NBA history to score at least 30 points in five consecutive games while also shooting at least 60 percent from the field in each contest.

In other words, Lil’ Wayne missed a lot.

According to the Heat, he left the game on “his own free will.” That’s not the story Wayne posted to Twitter, though.

“So I’m @ da Heat game right, rootin 4 da Lakers kuz dats my team & would u believe they got police 2 make me leave?! Wow! [expletive] da Heat,” Wayne wrote.

Although highly visible at most home games, Wayne usually roots against the Heat. A Lakers fan, Wayne apparently exchanged some words with Dwyane Wade during the first half.

According to multiple Twitter accounts by fans at the game, Wayne also apparently reacted to a heckler by making a gun with his hand and pointing it in the heckler’s general direction.

“I heard he had a little altercation with D-Wade,” James said. “He said he was kicked out. I heard from our people that he was not kicked out, so whatever.”

Whatever, indeed. A diehard sports fan, Wayne missed arguably the Heat’s best highlight of the season, an over- and behind-the-head alley-oop from Cole to James to give the Heat (34-14) a seven-point lead with six minutes to play.

“It was an unbelievable play by D-Wade that started it,” James said. “He got the steal and saved it to [Chris Bosh]. [Bosh] threaded the needle to Cole and Cole just looked out his review and seen me trailing.

“I told him to throw it anywhere and I’ll go get it.”

James certainly did just that, leaping high into the air for a one-handed tomahawk dunk.

“Norris just threw it to the moon,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

“And I brought it down,” James later added.

James was 12 of 18 from the field, 1 of 2 from three-point range and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line to go along with seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and four turnovers. James has played arguably the best basketball of his career over the past five games. He has been accurate from outside and aggressive in the paint. Consider this: James has made 9 of his last 14 attempts from three-point range.

“If I was doing this and we was losing, it wouldn’t matter much to me but the fact that I can contribute and we can win, it’s what it comes down to,” James said.

James’ coast-to-coast rim-rocking dunk through the heart of the Lakers’ defense with 3:25 left in the game put the Heat ahead 97-88. It was the final highlight of a high-octane half of basketball for the Heat that featured just as many jaw-dropping moments from Wade as James.

Wade scored 16 points in the final period, shooting 6 of 7 from the field. During one stretch, Wade scored nine consecutive points for the Heat with James on the bench. Wade’s burst ended with a three-point play that gave the Heat an 89-84 lead. James then checked back into the game to help Miami put it away.

“When he gets on a roll we all know how he is,” James said. “We called some great plays for him. … He was doing pretty much everything.”

Wade finished with 30 points, going 12 of 18 from the field. He was 6 of 6 from the free-throw line and had five assists but four turnovers. Bosh added a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) in his first game back since coming down with the flu.

Kobe Bryant led the Lakers (24-28) with 28 points, shooting 11 of 19. Dwight Howard had 15 points and nine rebounds.

“They have a couple of sensational players over there,” Bryant said. “They made some big plays. Dwyane got himself going in the fourth quarter and that created a cushion for them.

“He started doing what Dwyane Wade does, making sensational play after sensational play. They carried the momentum from there.”

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