Lakers vs. Heat: Why LeBron James Will Best Kobe and Lead the Heat to Victory

Jason LindContributor IJanuary 18, 2012

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 10:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat posts up Kobe Bryant #24 of  the Los Angeles Lakers  during a game at American Airlines Arena on March 10, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Hearkening back to the Dark Ages, or the B.T. (Before Tebow) era, Lebron James was the most controversial athlete in America. 

His decision to join the Miami Heat brought talent and hatred to South Beach.  Basketball fans outside of Miami resented the King for his decision, and the Heat became the evil empire of the NBA.

One failed title run removed from the infamous “Decision,” Lebron is quietly shaking his evil persona. 

The Heat are 9-4 after a 120-98 comeback win over the San Antonio Spurs.  Lebron missed his first four shots in that game, but battled back to finish with 33 points and 10 assists.  Through 13 games, he is averaging 29.8 points, 7.6 assists and 7.9 rebounds. 

The Lakers are coming to Miami Thursday night, still on an emotional high from a 73-70 win over the Dallas Mavericks.  Kobe did not carry the scoring load in that game, but he has in most of them: Bryant is averaging 30.8 points per game through his first 15 games.

Kobe may have the scoring edge, but its because his team is asking him to do everything.  New Los Angeles coach Mike Brown runs the offense through Bryant.  He consistently takes 30 shots per game, significantly more than Lebron.  Lebron distributes and rebounds the basketball better, averaging two assists and two rebounds more than Kobe.

Lebron plays comfortably.  With Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade on the same team, he does not have to force any action.  More weight is on Kobe’s shoulders than ever before, while the pressure on Lebron has subsided for now. 

This is the Lakers' first trip to the East Coast this season.  Do not expect a favorable result for Kobe.  Lebron will play the more efficient, well-rounded game, and the Heat will win.