87 - 98 Final
  for this game

James leads Heat past Lakers

Jan 20, 2012 - 6:46 AM
Miami, FL (Sports Network) - The showdown between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant was completely one-sided Thursday, with the former filling the stat sheet to lead the Heat to a 98-87 victory over the Lakers.

James, after missing the pregame shootaround with flu-like symptoms, poured in 31 points to go with eight assists, eight rebounds, four steals and three blocks.

Bryant shot just 8-of-21 from the field and logged 24 points, 11 coming in the final 3:02 after the outcome had essentially been decided.

"It's never been between me and Kobe," James insisted. "We get all the press and limelight, but we just try to do whatever it takes to help our team win."

Chris Bosh contributed 15 points and eight boards for Heat, who have won back- to-back games on the heels of a three-game slide despite being without Dwyane Wade (ankle).

Pau Gasol totaled 26 points and eight rebounds, while Andrew Bynum had 15 and 12 in defeat.

The Lakers beat the Mavericks on Monday on a last-second shot by Derek Fisher, but there was no dramatic finish on Thursday, with the Heat holding a double- digit lead over the final 26 minutes.

Miami led 25-20 after the first quarter, then scored eight straight points early in the second to push to margin to 35-22.

Three-pointers by James and Shane Battier in the late stages of the half helped build the cushion to 52-37 at the break.

Joel Anthony's bank shot beat the third-quarter buzzer for a 77-56 lead, and a late flurry by Bryant did little except make the final score a little more respectable.

"We were aggressive the last six or seven minutes," Lakers head coach Mike Brown said. "You can't go against a team like this and allow them to be the aggressors for most of the night."

Game Notes

The Lakers fell to 1-5 on the road this season...The Heat have won the last four meetings...Eddy Curry played his first game since December 17, 2009, totaling six points and three rebounds in just over six minutes of play for Miami.