Published: Friday January 18, 2013 MYT 3:34:00 PM
Updated: Friday January 18, 2013 MYT 4:47:13 PM
James scores 39 points in Heat win over Lakers
LOS ANGELES: LeBron James showed he had no intention of slowing down after reaching the 20,000-point milestone, scoring 39 points Thursday to lead NBA champions Miami to a 99-90 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
The victory came one day after James scored 25 points in a win over Golden State in Oakland, California, becoming the youngest player in NBA history, at 28, to record 20,000 career points. He also reached 5,000 career assists.
Dwyane Wade, who celebrated his 31st birthday on Thursday and learned that like James he'd been elected an Eastern Conference starter to the All-Star game, added 27 points, five assists and four rebounds for Miami.
Kobe Bryant, who led all All-Star vote-getters in earning a 15th straight starting spot in the mid-season exhibition, paced the Lakers with 22 points.
But he connected on just 8-of-25 from the field, missing 14 of his first 17 shots, as the Heat defense stifled Los Angeles and forced 20 Lakers turnovers.
Metta World Peace followed with 16 points and Dwight Howard contributed a double-double of 13 points and 16 rebounds. But Los Angeles couldn't stretch their two-game winning streak.
There was some good news for the lackluster Lakers, who had Pau Gasol return from a five-game absence because of a concussion to score 12 points with four rebounds and four assists off the bench.
The Lakers made it interesting at the end, with Bryant's three-pointer knotting the score at 90-90 with 2:33 remaining. Wade answered with a jump shot, Lakers center Dwight Howard missed two free throws and Ray Allen made a jump shot to give the Heat a 94-90 lead.
After Lakers point guard Steve Nash missed a layup, James gave Miami breathing room with a jump shot that made it 96-90 with 49 seconds to play. He added one more basket and a free-throw to close it out "I thought we played well enough to beat them," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. "At the end of the day, turnovers killed us." -AFP