x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Miami's O'Neal too hot for Bryant and the Lakers

The Miami Heat overcome a 39-point effort from Kobe Bryant to record a thrilling 114-111 overtime win against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Miami Heat overcame a 39-point effort from Kobe Bryant to record a thrilling 114-111 overtime win against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night. Jermaine O'Neal's basket gave Miami a 111-109 lead with 54 seconds remaining in the extra period. The centre then drew a vital offensive foul on Bryant as the Heat (31-31) sealed the game with three free throws. Bryant, whose last-gasp three-pointer beat Miami on December 4, made a game-levelling jump shot with three seconds left in regulation and then scored 12 straight points for the NBA champions, but was unable to prevent their first loss in four games.

"We just couldn't get stops," Bryant said. "We basically traded baskets to start the overtime. "We didn't execute well defensively. They made big plays, too." Dwyane Wade, the Miami All-Star, scored 27 points and 14 assists to lead the home team to a morale-boosting victory over the Western Conference-leading Lakers (46-16). Wade may have scored fewer points than Bryant in the match-up between two of the league's marque players, but his lower tally was due to his late-game tactical passing to teammates rather than taking shots himself.

"That shows my teammates I'm about winning," Wade said. "I'm not about, 'I need to hit this shot because Kobe hit one'. It's about making sure we all are confident and we all are good." "We have big-moment, big-play type guys that love to step up to a big challenge like this and aren't afraid of the moment," said Erik Spoelstra, the Heat coach. "Obviously, Dwyane is like that, Jermaine is like that.

"A lot of times it's a fight and an argument to see who's going to shoot the ball. "They're not running from it. They want the moment." For Los Angeles, it was the first match of a three-game Eastern road trip that concludes in Orlando tomorrow. * Reuters