In the first half the Lakers looked out of sorts on the defensive end of the floor, which has been the case all season. Countless layups for the Heat contributed to their impressive 52 points in the paint on the night. When the Lakers weren’t giving up lay ups they were allowing the Heat to walk in to wide open 3-pointers. The Heat shot 40 percent from the 3-point line, and that was one of the main reasons they lead at halftime.
It was nice to see Greg Oden come in and play effectively for the Heat. Oden didn’t have the best game of his life, but 5 points and 5 boards in 10 minutes is a very solid showing for the big man who has had trouble staying on the court. All of these factors contributed to an 11 point Heat lead at halftime that felt like it should have been much bigger.
The Lakers were able to flip the switch in the second half, and made the game very competitive. The Heat went through the motions, and even looked bored at times, which let the Lakers claw their way back into the game. The key in the second half for the Lakers was their ability to knock down the outside shot. When Jodie Meeks got it going from downtown the Lakers were able to spread the floor, and it opened things up for everyone.
L.A.'s greatest advantage in the game was their rock, Pau Gasol. The Heat had no answer for Gasol down low, and he routinely scored in the paint en route to a 22 point, 11 rebound night, shooting 9-15 from the floor. Gasol was impressive as always using both hands to score over a plethora of defenders who looked hopelessly lost trying to defend the big man.
The Lakers' clutch shooting in the second half brought them back into striking distance, but their defense just wasn’t able to make the stops needed to get the victory. The dagger came with just over two minutes left when Lebron James dropped a step back 3-pointer with the shot clock running down to extend the Heat’s lead back to 7.
The Lakers showed great spirit in coming back against the defending champions, but their defense just couldn’t get them over the hump. The Lakers will be back in action tonight playing against the Orlando Magic in Florida.
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