Miami’s epic run of blown opportunities late in games started coming to an end. With their Big Three clicking at the same time, the Heat ended their 5-game losing streak with a 94-88 win over the defending champion Los Angeles (LA) Lakers. Chris Bosh scored 24 points in his first outing after saying he wanted more shots. Wade scored eight of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and James finished with 19 points, nine assists and eight rebounds for Miami, which secured a postseason bid with 17 games left the earliest that’s happened in franchise history. Bryant scored 24 points for the Lakers, who got 20 from Pau Gasol. Andrew Bynum finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds for Los Angeles. And after the Lakers cleared out for a night in Miami and they’re not flying out until Friday. Bryant stayed behind taking hundreds of shots in a workout that lasted well over an hour and didn’t end until just after midnight in Miami. Bryant and Wade tangled again after the steal led to the go-ahead basket, when Bryant tried a 3-pointer with 1:06 left. Wade was credited with a block, and Bryant said afterward he was fouled.
The final minutes hardly seemed like a team with an eight-game winning streak facing a team on a five-game losing streak. It was theater, the out-of-your-seat, roaring-after-every-play variety. Wade changed speeds for separation and drove past Bryant, putting Miami back on top, so Bryant — who had missed 9 of his last 11 shots — came down on the ensuing possession and hit a 3-pointer from near the Heat bench. The Lakers had a 9-0 spurt, capped by a 3-pointer from Derek Fisher.
But Miami answered, scoring six of the final eight points of the period and getting within 70-68 when James stepped back and hit a 20-footer over Ron Artest with 0.2 seconds remaining. So with that, Miami got a buzzer-beater to end the first quarter, the last basket of the second, and another beat-the-clock score to close the third. The Heat has lost 11 times this season when having a chance to take the lead or tie the game in the final 12 seconds. This one didn’t go down to the absolute wire, though. Miami took care of it before the final moments. Heat beat Lakers, Yahoooo!!