MIAMI (CBSLA.com) — LeBron James put 32 points on the board and Dwayne Wade added 30 as the Miami Heat beat the Lakers 107-97 on Sunday for their sixth win in their last seven meetings.
James has scored at least 30 points in his last five games, which is a franchise record. During that five-game stretch, he has shot better than 60 percent.
Kobe Bryant finished with 28 points and nine assists, and Earl Clark put up 18 points of his own.
The win moved Miami 2 1/2 games above the New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference standings, with the Knicks losing to the Los Angeles Clippers earlier Sunday.
Dwight Howard and Steve Nash each added 15 points for the Lakers.
Miami, as a team, shot 55 percent, with both James and Wade scoring on 12 of their 18 attempts. The Heat also out-rebounded the Lakers with a 38-29 edge.
The Lakers were able to keep the game close, going to half-time tied at 53, but Wade had five straight points for Miami, the last of which came on a three-point play with 7:15 left that extended Miami’s lead to 89-82.
About a minute later, Wade forced a turnover and flipped the ball to Chris Bosh before falling out of bounds. Bosh got the ball to Norris Cole, who outran Nash in transition and then lobbed a pass over his head to James, who elevated for an alley-oop slam gave Miami a seven-point lead once more.
However, James was not done putting on a show.
With 3:25 left on the clock, James stole a pass and drove down the court on Nash, before leaping for a dunk that gave him his 30th point, and achieving the record and giving Miami a nine-point lead.
“He’s unbelievable,” Lakers Head Coach Mike D’Antoni said about James. “His work ethic, his energy. When everybody is down in practice, he’s the guy that gets it going, his love of the game. Besides winning the lottery gene pool that he won, besides all that, he takes it to a different level that I don’t know if anybody can go there, to be honest with you. He’s unbelievable and he studies the game. There’s just a lot of great things that he does.”
Kobe didn’t give up, scoring on the Lakers’ next possession, but Shane Battier hit a big three-pointer with 2:42 left to give Miami the first double-digit lead for either team all day. Bryant also tied a season best with five assists in the first quarter.
Turnovers proved to be a factor in the game. In a big fourth quarter for the Heat, the Lakers had eight turnovers, where Miami had none.
Miami came into the game winners of four in a row, but Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra touched on the strong way the Lakers have played overall of late. “What you notice is that they have won seven out of their last nine, despite everything that is circling around their team,” Spoelstra said. “They have found a way.”
The Lakers (24-28) finish 4-3 on their road trip. They next host the Phoenix Suns, who were held to just 69 points Sunday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder, on Tuesday at Staples Center.