Still Clear Where Heat And Lakers Stand

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HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – Not that we didn’t know it already, but the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers showed us on Thursday that there’s still a pretty large gap between the two teams that many thought would be meeting in The Finals come June. The result was a 99-90 victory for Miami that kept them in first place in the Eastern Conference and kept the Lakers buried in 11th place in the West.

The Heat were playing the sixth and final game of a tough road trip, and on the second night of a back-to-back. They shot just 6-for-34 from outside the paint. But they stepped it up defensively and attacked the basket for 68 points in the paint and another 17 at the free throw line.

The Lakers, meanwhile, couldn’t get the shots they wanted or the stops they needed. They committed 20 turnovers, including 14 of the live-ball variety. And they couldn’t do anything with the size advantage they had on the frontline.

Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register writes that the Lakers just aren’t ready to win big games

There are teams that just know how to win and teams that just don’t.

Welcome to the other side, Lakers.

After so many years with their grass so much greener – Bryant driving them to be daring, clutch and sharp at critical moments – the Lakers more than ever in recent history just don’t know how to win.

They don’t know how to execute down the stretch in part because of unfamiliarity with each other but also just because they don’t know what exactly what they want to be doing.

They still don’t have any dependable defensive structure even in their most basic sense, not being sure anyone will make even the first rotation after Howard goes to protect the paint. They don’t want to dump the ball predictably on Bryant, and at the key moments Thursday night Howard air-balls one free throw, misses the next and Nash then awkwardly shoots the ball off the side of the backboard.

And not that we didn’t know it already, but LeBron James is still by far the best player in the world. The reigning MVP put up a ridiculous line of 39 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and three steals on a night when he didn’t really have his jumper.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN chronicles what was a statement game from James

With all the Player of the Week and Player of the Month Awards that have become routine and so much judgment saved for the playoffs, it can be easy to lose sight of the everyday masterpieces James delivers. He’s had three of them just since Monday night, which rescued the Heat from what had the makings of a dismal road trip.

James’ fourth quarter Monday in Utah was a showcase of his versatility, playing point guard on offense and center on defense to take over both ends of the court to lead a dramatic comeback that fell just short. Unless you saw it, fighting bigger players in the post and whipping passes through invisible alleys, you probably couldn’t appreciate it.

Wednesday at Golden State was a night of history, in which he nailed two meaningful milestones over a span of about 20 minutes and came up just short of a triple-double, even with sitting out the fourth quarter. He needed 18 points to get to 20,000, but the Heat, who had lost three of four, needed a win. So he had the best-scoring first half of the season, putting up 21, and ended the discussion and the losing streak by the half.

Against the Lakers, he had his best overall offensive game of the season and one of the most efficient of his career. In a statement on just where Dwight Howard’s health is at this point, James relentlessly attacked the Lakers’ interior and teamed up with Wade to put on a highlight show with fast breaks after forcing turnovers. He made seven layups and six dunks, overall shooting 15-of-16 in the paint as he scored a season-high 39 points.

The Heat are finally heading home and have five days of rest before they host the Raptors on Wednesday. The Lakers, meanwhile, begin a critical, three-game trip in Toronto on Sunday. With every loss, the playoffs become less of a reality. They really need a strong run to get there, and they don’t look like they’re quite ready for that right now.

95 Comments

  1. killuabest says:

    KICK DUMBTONI!!!

  2. Dwade says:

    as expected… D’Wade, LBJ and the Heat won vs. LA Lakers trash… Bryant ballhug shown idiotinize shooting percentage…
    Shame on trying and die hard fans of LA Loosers…. better to hang their uniforms and dream of basketball of their own… for sure they will be the champion… HAHAHA

    LakerWilWin that’s my own word to describe a dumb like him…. u cant create yours? Idiot LAKER_DIEHARD_CEBU , JESS…ImJusSayin.. FUk U, SOB, back off men..

  3. Twin Tower! says:

    post my comments, quit removing them!

  4. lakermig says:

    I stopped reading instantly cause we lost by just 9 points and dwight scored just 13 points how ca’n you say something so foolish as theres a large gap 9 points and dwight just getting into double digit points leaves a big question mark as to the outcome in a seven game series.

  5. Dwade says:

    as expected… D’Wade, LBJ and the Heat won vs. LA Lakers trash… Bryant ballhug shown idiotinize shooting percentage…
    Shame on trying and die hard fans of LA Loosers…. better to hang their uniforms and dream of basketball of their own… for sure they will be the champion… HAHAHA

    LakerWilWin that’s my own word to describe a dumb like him…. u cant create yours? Idiot….. FU, SOB, back off men..

  6. Silence I'll Kill You says:

    @eyes

    how can u be so sure of that? are u nostradamus? just watch and enjoy the game

  7. JMaine says:

    @Adam

    KD could never put up the numbers LBJ puts up with the Heat or any other team. He just got up on trying to make players around him better. LBJ has been doing that his whole career. KD goes hard don’t get me wrong. He had to start trying to make player around him better for 2 reason 1. Westbrook and 2. That why he lost the finals 1-4. being a pure scorer dose not mean your team will win. LBJ flirts with a tray dub every night KD Just got his 1st tray dub this season.

    • 34yr fan says:

      ….his whole career ??? C’mon…..Man, High school players don’t make everyone around them better….It was 3 years into his contract that he started playin’ great.

  8. RSS vs RSS says:

    I’m a Lakers fan in as of lately we haven’t play consistently with the winning mentality and executing on both end of the floors. Like it’s not every night Kobe going to shoot well so somebody got to step up and stop committing all these turnovers as well but can the Lakers get it together yeah when D12 stop smiling when the team is losing and other players step up and play their roles but as far the Heats goes they came and executed well so they got the win til Feb 10 we can’t say they’re not better than us cause clearly they’re the reigning champ and they got a secure spot in the playoffs…..Lakers all day everyday

  9. LAKER_DIEHARD_CEBU says:

    KOBE has his moments and LEBRON has his this time. I am a great KOBE and LAKER fan but I also know that its not all the time that KOBE will be great as stars are also rising. BUT KOBE WILL BE AN ALL TIME GREAT!!! aside from KOBE, did somebody else play with a SUPER BROKEN FINGER?! let me know if LEBRON played on his injury as well.

  10. Kiddo says:

    look at first half, kobe has 4 points and 4 turnover, shoot 2-9? now you know the gap

  11. Clipp Man says:

    Live in the present and not the past.

    Clippers are LA’s “A” team and the Lakers are the “B” team.
    The truth hurts and this will be fact for the foreseeable future.

    Clipps v OKC for the West. Miami wins title this year and Clipps next year.

  12. Dwade says:

    as expected… D’Wade, LBJ and the Heat won vs. LA Lakers trash… Bryant ballhug shown idiotinize shooting percentage…
    Shame on trying and die hard fans of LA Loosers…. better to hang their uniforms and dream of basketball of their own… for sure they will be the champion… HAHAHA

    LakerWilWin that’s my own word to describe a dumb like him…. u cant create yours? Idiot….. FU, SOB, back off men..

  13. JESS says:

    Kobe is getting old that i can admit BUT!!! as long as he is in the NBA he still the best player, Le Bron is still going to have to wait til he gets at least 4 more rings and i don’t see that happening with the west as deep as they are he is still gum under kobe’s shoes in the mean while the” PRINCE “is going to have to wait for the real ” KING THE BLACK MAMBA to retire “” GO LAKERS””

    • Macky says:

      Rings is a team achievement, you kobetard. Lebron doesn’t have to win 4 more to be better than Kobe….he’s already been better than him for 5 years or more.

      AND 3 MVPS and 1 Finals MVP is more impressive than 1 MVP and 1 Finals MVP. Get your eyes checked.

    • Hm says:

      Championships are a team achievement. LeBron has always been a better player than Kobe.

      • Eyes says:

        Get your eyes checked. Lebron should not be even compared to Kobe. Kobe is obviously way above his calibre. Lebron should only be compared to Vince Carter. When LBJ turns 34, he’ll just be averaging 15ppg.

  14. Lebronblows says:

    lmao Lebrons finally getting his time to shine because there is no more talent in the NBA. Only real talent is KD, maybe Melo. Lebron fans are soooo happy. They will just jump ship when his knees start to weaken in 2 years ahhahahaha.

    Lebron is not better than Kobe, he is simply younger.

    Its like finally beating your father in basketball because hes getting old and the youth prevails.

    • dattebayo says:

      Kobe knees are still good, why should Lebron be done at 30?

    • LALosers says:

      I can tell how mad you’re with the loss last night, don’t lose any sleep over it. KING JAMES IS THE BEST!

    • lol so kobe is better than lebron? at what table tennis? kobe shot 8 of 25 lastnite with just 22 points off that! lebron took 25 shots as well and he put up 39 on them FAKESHOW!

      • lakerslakerslakers says:

        it’s like comparing wizards jordan to kobe back then, kobe isn’t in his prime, he’ll be the first to tell you. can lebron single handedly lead a team to not one not two but 8 championships? nope, he had to go get help. thats why lebron is not better than jordan or kobe. but….can’t fault him for not wanting to be like all the greats we had during the jordan era who never got a ring like barkley, ewing etc.

  15. Given that Phil’s off the table, the Lakers should look into the system deployed by the late-90s Spurs. They managed to play Duncan and Robinson together and get 40 a game from both combined. The league in those days was more talented at the center spot and Nash/Bryant are a lot better than Johnson/Elie. It just doesn’t make sense; there’s no excuse for this. With the talent on the Laker roster there is just no reason they need to be this awful. How badly coached is this team?

  16. Mykzsez23 says:

    kobe has his time, but im pretty sure its lebrons time now baby!

  17. Adam says:

    Does everyone here believe LeBron is “by FAR” the best basketball player in the nab? I believe if LeBron and KD switched teams KD would put up even greater numbers all around.

  18. steve says:

    are there any more questions about how important coaching is? lakers with phil jackson 5 titles, lakes without? ZERO. kobe bryant is great, just like michael jordan was great but neither won anything without phil and are just products of phils system.

    • pakyaw says:

      .yes, coaching is one of the reason theyre losing but thats not the main reason,like i said before Lakers is a unbalanced team..they are limited in 1 position defensively,except for MWP can guard 2-3 position but he s old..remember Odom or Ariza?these guys can guard multiple spot..and lastly their bench is horrible….

  19. What is the laker fans excuse now from the loss? Not enough Gatorade on the bench? King James made that whole laker squad look like he was going against 10 yr olds in closing the game! #GOHEAT!

  20. Silence I'll Kill You says:

    @dready jun..

    childish??

    . DONT live in past.. RING talks is not an excuse… the article is just about the game.. if ur team lost.. accept it. coz the other team did a better job, so respect and give some credit.

  21. Lebronblows says:

    Lebrons stans are SOOOOO happy Kobes finally old lmao

  22. Silence I'll Kill You says:

    @ lakerfan

    that was the funniest comment ever.. whats unfair of guarding whoever on the floor.. u made my day pal.. XD

  23. SynByn says:

    The heat were shooting 17% from outside the paint but were still able to beat the lakers. Amazing.

  24. dready jun says:

    Blah blah blah. When does these writers ever get anything right. Lakers are the best. Miami has only got a couple of rings and Thunder hasn’t even won any yet both Thunder and Heat act like they are a legends. Rubbish.

    • pakyaw says:

      stop living in the past..kid

    • 34yr fan says:

      …not living legends ….just legends…… like pakyaw said……living in the past, whereas the Thunder and Heat have much promise for the future, unlike the the laker relics…….LOL enjoy the offseason player search!!

  25. Is it sinking in.....? says:

    I love it, I love it!! This is the year that humbles a lot of ppl in LA, main one being that number 24.. It’s pretty great to see arrogance get handed it’s head.. The real leader(Nash) is back from injury and the guy(24) that just shoots can’t even help “his” team win. This has been story most of the season.. You have a great PG in Nash that makes everyone better around him added to a guy that doesn’t make anyone better whatsoever and takes no blame in anything.. And you actually thought it would work out?? Someone is too full of himself.. Howard won’t be back, I’m sure Gasol wants to escape, and I feel so bad for Nash but, he chose this team like so many others that thought they would get a ring and hang it up. Shoulda went to play with a guy like James and the Heat.. Or OKC with Durant.. I’m glad James showed them “what’s up” in LA last night! He did everything as usual, a complete ball player! Always fun to watch a guy play that does everything and not just shoot the ball and mean mug his teammates..Best is yet to come.No post season for Lakers

    • MVSteve says:

      The thing is: Nash has no turnaround… Leaving his beloved suns to a hated lakers in hope for a title, and then missing the playoffs?! kinda hope that the season turns around for the lakers, cause nash doesnt deserve this, specially after he got almoust “robbed” from the title in 2007 against san antonio. and for gasol, i dont think he can stick around till the end of the season…

      • 34yr fan says:

        ….NOBODY..deserves a title …especially when they are out there cherrypickin’ a team…..grow up !! He chose ‘maybe’ fame over better options …..it is ALL his fault……..PS: still cryin’ over ’07……… Maybe little Stevie should’ve kept his ‘nose’ off of Tony’s skull, huh? I love it when spoiled grown men have to sleep in the ‘bed’ that they made and Still try to make excuses….it is LOL funny. That lame center has the same problem…..good luck with their childish attempts to capture fame and glory……. They would have done better, or at least as well, if they just stayed where they were and made the best of it, both of those teams are not as good without them and where they went is Worse!!

  26. Sam says:

    Most of these Heat fans are either only Lebron fans or Cuban refugees who actually live in Miami

  27. EJhorton says:

    Kudos to LBJ, played really well last night. LA just got short in 4th well it doesnt matter coz they lost. Kobe is still Kobe he has his name already in NBA future “Hall of Famer”. For LBJ he’s still young and alot more to achieve.

    Lezzz GO Lakers!

  28. JMaine says:

    yeah he did travel and I’m a James fan but rules are a lot different due to the great ones who made the game what it is today. so keep watching old Jordan replays. hate seeing people cry about rules, they took the the hop step from the game because of James. Iverson got hit with carries all day because his cross over destroyed Jordan. O’neal had rules changed because of him. so Please rules have been changed to help the talentless. Weak comment.

    • ImJusSayin says:

      Jordan was the first serious superstar calls beneficiary just as bad as james and why should AI be allowed to carry over it is only allowed now to promote stats and hype. I am not promoting those phonies either go back to when rules were being created to stop wilt or Kareem creating a shot that was unblockable to find the true greats. Keep your wannabe’s That incudes Mr “my most famous shot is an offensive foul Jordan” while I miss the true greats. And no Love’s numbers aren’t nothing compared to Moses.

      • 34yr fan says:

        …it (the phantom calls and the ‘no’ calls) started in the 80’s when the NBA had start ‘marketing’ the game to young people to save it, and culminated with the ‘Jordan Mythos’ of the 90’s(and all the ‘sneaker’ ads and player contracts) ….. a defensive player could get a foul called on him against Mikey by just being NEAR him….. now it is all about offensive showboating…….not as much fun to watch when an offensive player has Another advantage….bad rules…..

  29. ImJusSayin says:

    I am getting used to LBJ getting the 4th step here and there but now he can dive for a ball and get up with out traveling. The more the NBA relaxes its rules the more I appreciate what others did before carrying over, 3 steps and clearing out the lane has done to skew the numbers to taint the true greats. I realize LBJ is the NBA’s new meal ticket but they should know at least one fan prefers the pre WWF days.

    • theking0522 says:

      Whiner!!!! You don’t complaint when Kobe gets away with traveling and all the FAKE fouls they call on him. You lost because your team is pathetic.

      • Macky says:

        It seems to me like he does complain when Kobe gets away with travels, all the cheap calls they bail him out on his awful shots and let him play hack-a-defense on their opponents. Re read what he said you idiot fanboy. Pre WWF days means the days before the rule changes, when players weren’t getting extremely overrated like Kobe is today.

      • ImJusSayin says:

        I complain just fine when Kobe gets the star treatment.

    • AJ Mills says:

      You watch a lot of college ball ImJusSayin?

  30. jayrulez says:

    First match up of the season, I told Bron “have no love for em”
    I told Bron “When you see Kobe Bryant, please, Spaz on him”
    The game tips off and James straight sonned him quick
    I texted Mike like “I know you watching this, you ain’t messing with my clique”

  31. bryan says:

    Lakers needs Phil Jackson or some defensive coach to ultilize their bigs Howard and Gasol. Lakers Basketball

    • Macky says:

      The only reason they need Phil Jackson is because he knows how to keep Kobe in check. And he knows how to fit in the role players within an offense that is dominated by Kobe ‘Shot Jacking Ball Stopper’ Bryant.

  32. theholyspectator says:

    all hail the king…kobe who? lakers are done for the year…it would have been enjoyable to watch la play how we all know they could play…but guess we gotta wait next year..unless cry baby howard decides to leave…and knowing him he may as well…but n e ways…when heat play lock down defense and they stay “active” on defense, NO ONE can stop them..no one…your lookin at the 2012-2013 NBA champs….they just gotta get crowned in june..

    • Macky says:

      If I was Howard, I would leave this awful team with this awful leader. Kobe took 25 shots and missed 17. Howard, Gasol, Clark and Jamison took a total of 26 shots. 4 guys took 1 less shot than Kobe. They only lost because of his horrible defense and his shot jacking prowess.

  33. Game Time says:

    That was a great game to the end last night. As a bball fan I really enjoyed it and would have been upset with a blowout game either way.

  34. amarevalo says:

    With all of these, I can’t believe so many people are hating. I mean please, let’s give credit where credit is REALLY due! C’mon

  35. lakerfan says:

    so unfair, kobe vs wade and lebron.
    Kobe guarding wade all game, lebron guarding kobe in the last 5 mins. They kill kobe men.

  36. LUGA KA says:

    Hate to see Nash playing on lakers….. He should have stayed @ PHX or join the HEAT,or OKC… or any contending teams… What a waste of a good floor general…. What a waste of talent…..

    Let’s Go HEAT!!!!

    • mvp says:

      even if i kinda disagree, your right. nash might be on a system that just doesnt help him out. its kinda not just ruining his stats, but also his shot at a tiltle. Go Steve!!!

  37. Lebron = GOAT says:

    C’mon man Lebron is just sick he outplays anyone whenever he wants he is just too good

  38. Dwade says:

    as expected… D’Wade, LBJ and the Heat won vs. LA Lakers trash… Bryant ballhug shown idiotinize shooting percentage…
    Shame on trying and die hard fans of LA Loosers…. better to hang their uniforms and dream of basketball of their own… for sure they will be the champion… HAHAHA

    • LakersWillWin says:

      Is “iditoinize” actually a word? Or am I really that dumb.

      Regardless- That game was great. The Heat just made the big plays at the end to secure it. Great effort from both sides. We all know what Miami is capable of, but the Lakers also showed a lot of positives last night.

      • Reality says:

        The Heat are just the better team period. And LeBron is better than Kobe perid.

        Its that simple

      • Ross says:

        Lebron is obviously overrated. Stop comparing LBJ to Kobe. Kobe is way above his calibre. Its just one game. When LBJ turns 34. Im sure he’ll just be averaging just 15ppg. All of you please admit it. LBJ is overrated. he is a good player but not great. He’s just like vince carter.

      • Kobetard says:

        LOL KOBETARD ALERTTTTTT

        dude get over it Kobe’s reign is done .. and when LeBron retires you’ll relize what can happen when yr amazing at more than just scoring punk

      • Kobetard says:

        how can u compare him to Vince huh??? u clearly dont know nothing about about basketball. LeBron gots 3 mvps and a ring Vince gotts a dunk off tittle thats it. go brush your teeth i can smell ya stank from here. … smh

      • Twin Tower! says:

        Lakers will win but won’t win this season. See my comments above and in all other articles related to the Lakers.

    • Gabriel says:

      Ummm, did you guys watch the same game I did? It was not a good game at all. The Lakers could not hold on to the ball to save their lives, especially in the first half… & the Heat had probably their worst shooting game of the season. With Miami’s excellent display of defense, they should’ve won by 30+ points, especially considering Kobe’s poor shooting night. Instead, Miami’s superb transition defense was barely enough to keep them a few points ahead most of the game. Not a pretty game by any means.

  39. arun says:

    I really feel Lakers played ecellent yesterday even though down the stretch they should have gone directly to Kobe or Pau in the paint instead of running pick and roll with Nash. Nash pick and roll was not effective yesterday because of Heat’s pick and roll defense.

    I still feel Dwight should sit last 5 mins of the game in close games and let pau handle the job at C position. Even one miss free throws in close games is very critical. Forget about 4-5 missed free throws.

    • Gabriel says:

      If you thought the Lakers played “excellent” yesterday, then you obviously didn’t watch the game. They played horribly… as did the Heat, except on defense… I didn’t expect such a sloppy game, but the Lakers’ ability to hold on to the ball was especially horrendous.

    • Andy says:

      And that’s why you don’t coach. Why would you even think about sitting the best center in the NBA and letting Pau try to hold that down while he gets attacked in the last few minutes of the game?

      • 34yr fan says:

        ….that Howard dude is definitely NOT the best center in the league…..never has been…..never will be….

    • Mind Reader says:

      The Lakers didn’t have an excellent game but they did improve. Thats a really good sign for Lakers. They will be much better by the end of the season. Regardless, the Lakers will not win a title this season, just like the Heat’s first year with the big 3. But it’s a great sign that they improve and they’ll have a great shot at the title next season. Once everything is smoother, they will dominate. I’m sure they’ll add more depth by next season if not by the trade deadline. GO LAKERS!

      • Macky says:

        There comes a point in a season where moral victories are not enough. All the Laker fans hope for now a days are moral victories and not actually victories.

      • Twin Tower! says:

        There’s no such thing as moral victories and actually victories what ever the heck you’re talking about. A victory is a victory. If you win a title then you’ll win a title. it’s a sport that we love to watch but it’s also a business. The Heat has the edge right now bc they have had the time to develop the chemistry and they do have the talent. The Lakers have the same talents but dont have the time to develop chemistry and is suffering poor coaching, wrong system. In times, thing will turn around. that’s a fact proven by their record as the second best team of all time in NBA with 16 titles. Where is the heat ranking in all time? no where close. All i gota say is the Lakers have to much talents but not being utilize the right way that destroys their chemistry. The owner needs to waste another 30M and get Phil back. PPl think Phil dont make a difference but when u utilyze the talents right, the Lakers will become Titans! Chemistry will build on top of that when they win more.

      • 34yr fan says:

        …maybe they can play spoiler at the end of this season, and knock a team down in the seeding or out of the playoffs…

  40. Abbie says:

    Please, please, Shaq do not demonstrate or show how to eat chicken on television again. You made me sick.

    • Logic says:

      Shaq, continue doing these interesting things because you have one of the funniest and most interesting personalities in the NBA. Definitely do not listen to her.

  41. amarevalo says:

    With all of these, I still can’t believe why many are still hating. C’mon, let’s give credit to whom it is REALLY due!

  42. amarevalo says:

    With all of these, can’t believe many are still hating. Let’s give credit to whom it is REALLY due.