Miami Heat beat the Los Angeles Lakers for the second time this season

Coming into Thursday night’s South Beach showdown with the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, the Miami Heat had lost five straight games all to playoff bound teams like the New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs, Portland Trail Blazers and the Chicago Bulls.

Obviously, whenever a team like the Miami Heat starts losing games to teams like these with the playoffs just around the corner, this can be a major reason for concern. There is no doubt that the Heat have arguably one of the most talented starting lineups in the NBA today, but that doesn’t mean they will instantly be competing for an NBA title or will even be able to compete with the best of the best in the league.

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Antoine Walker playing with the Miami Heat

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Fortunately, despite their recent struggles, the Miami Heat were able to get back on track in a big way this past Thursday night against the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. Even though the Lakers were arguably the hottest team in the league coming into this matchup as they had recently destroyed the league leading San Antonio Spurs in the process of winning eight straight games, Kobe Bryant and company had their work cut out for them against a desperate Heat squad.

With five straight losses coming into this South Beach showdown with the defending champs, the Heat were in desperate need of a win and that is just what they got as they outplayed the Lakers in every which way. This was a close contest from start to finish as the Lakers and the Heat battled back and forth both sharing the lead at one point or another.

At times the Lakers seemed to have the game in hand with Kobe Bryant starting to get hot and Andrew Bynum getting going in the paint, but came close to the end in the fourth quarter, the Heat capitalized on big mistakes by the Lakers. It could be argued that the refs missed some pretty big calls that could have changed the game for Phil Jackson’s squad, but in the end the Miami Heat were just the better all around team on Thursday night at American Airlines Arena.

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Dwyane Wade led the way in the scoring column for the Miami Heat with a team-high 20 points. LeBron James stole the show for Miami though as he finished with 19 points, nine assists and eight boards. As for the Lakers, Kobe Bryant led the way as usually with a game-high 24 points, but I believe it was Andrew Bynum that had the best performance for the defending champs as he finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Unfortunately, even though Kobe and Bynum had impressive performances, it wasn’t enough to put the Lakers over the top to get their ninth win in a row. With this win, the Miami Heat snapped their 5-game losing streak and were finally able to get back on track, but whether or not they can maintain this kind of momentum remains to be seen.

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