for this game

Lakers spoil Marion's debut, down Heat

Feb 11, 2008 - 1:11 AM MIAMI (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Lakers traded for Pau Gasol last week to transform themselves into a championship contender. The Miami Heat traded away a franchise player to get back to that level and showed they still have some work to do.

Kobe Bryant scored 33 points and Gasol added 12 points and seven rebounds for the Lakers en route to a 104-94 victory over Miami, spoiling the debuts of new Heat members Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks.

Lamar Odom added 15 points and 18 rebounds for Los Angeles, which improved to 16-10 on the road this season.

Los Angeles acquired Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies on February 1 for center Kwame Brown, rookie guard Javaris Crittenton and a pair of first-round picks.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson feels it won't be long until Gasol is comfortable.

"We have such a simple offense," Jackson said. "It's not difficult for guys to pick it up, especially centers. He's a real smart player. He knows what's going on and what he has to be doing."

Gasol said the move is both exciting and motivating and that he's looking forward to playing with Bryant.

"We're definitely on the same page," Gasol said. "We both have a desire to win and know that it takes hard work to achieve it."

Miami - the 2005-06 NBA champion - traded former Laker center Shaquille O'Neal for Marion and Banks on Wednesday.

"We've got a very good defensive rebounder in Shawn (Marion)," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "He's so used to getting out and running and that's going to take some time. ... He'll probably score a lot more for us once he gets adjusted."

The Heat, losers of six straight and 20 of their last 21 games, appeared to adjust quickly to their new personnel, nearly matching the Lakers in the first half, trailing just 51-47.

Bryant hit two jumpers during the first six minutes of the third period, including one to cap a 19-11 stretch to give the Lakers a 70-58 advantage midway through the third quarter.

While the Heat were able to get within three points near the end of the third, Los Angeles closed the quarter with a 6-0 run to take an 82-73 lead heading into the final period.

Bryant sparked a quarter-opening 14-6 run with five points as Los Angeles pushed the lead out to 96-79 with 5:52 remaining. Miami stormed back again, scoring the next 11 points until Bryant hit a jumper to stop the run with 1:57 remaining.

"We had opportunities to break the game open, but there were times we had trouble finding our rhythm," Bryant said.

The Heat moved to within four points at 98-94 as Dwyane Wade scored four straight points, but Gasol nailed a running hook shot in the lane as the Lakers scored the final six points of the contest.

"They (the Heat) are playing a much higher tempo game right now as a speed game," Jackson said. "Now (without Shaq), they are pretty open up."

Marion said his new teammates are going to enjoy the new style once they become acclimated.

"Definitely, we showed it throughout the game," Marion said. "We just ran out of juice. ... it's going to be a little adjustment out there on the floor. I'm trying to learn the offense and feel my way out there on the floor. I'm used to spacing a little bit."

Mark Blount scored 22 points and Wade added 19 to pace the Heat, who lost for the 20th time in 25 home games. Marion contributed 15 points and 14 rebounds while Banks added seven.

"We are just a little more athletic (now)," Heat forward Dorell Wright said. "We have guys who can run the floor. I think we're going to be pretty good. Hopefully, we can start winning somewhere."

That is what the Heat was hoping for when it dealt away arguably the most popular player in franchise history, and tries to rebuild quickly.

"This year has been a disaster," Riley said. "We're trying to clean up all the pieces. This is where we are - 9-40."

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