The Los Angeles Lakers landed in South Beach having lost 13 of the last 16 games, and they needed a minor miracle to beat the Miami Heat at home where they had one loss since Dec. 3. Miami controlled the entire game but had to hold off a late Lakers run to preserve the 109-102 victory.
Chris Bosh was rapacious in the midrange, knocking down 15 of his 22 shots to get 31 points. LeBron James turned in 17 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Dwyane Wade (knee) missed his fifth straight game, but the Heat were still wire-to-wire winners.
Pau Gasol paced L.A. with 22 points and 11 boards, and Jodie Meeks was on the mark with four treys and 22 points of his own. Nick Young tallied 19, but his erratic shooting down the stretch threw cold water of the Lakers' comeback hopes.
The Heat opened a 57-46 halftime lead and stretched that to 16 early in the third. The Lakers were able to fight back and found themselves within four points inside of three minutes to play. Then the comeback ran out of gas on a pair of bricks by Young.
The Heat shot 57.7 percent from the field, but they still needed a couple of clutch shots from James and Bosh to seal the deal. They coughed up 18 turnovers and missed 12 of their 23 foul shots.
The Heat (31-12) continue their homestand in restful fashion, but they'll go up against elite competition. They have two days off before getting the San Antonio Spurs on Jan. 26, then rest for two more days before hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder on the 29th.
The Lakers (16-27) finish off the back-to-back in Florida against the Orlando Magic before heading up to face the New York Knicks in a Sunday afternoon matchup on the 26th.