LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) – The Miami Heat gave their fans some Christmas cheer with a dominating 96-80 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.
LeBron James collected 27 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, while Chris Bosh added 24 points and 13 rebounds to ensure it would not be a happy holiday for the Lakers (21-9), who have now been blown out in two consecutive games.
The Lakers were hammered 98-79 by Milwaukee on Tuesday.
“I don’t care if we lose by 20 or by one — I just don’t like to lose,” Kobe Bryant told reporters. “I’m just upset with how we’re playing. These games mean more to our opponents than they do us and we need to correct that.”
Bryant struggled to break down a stifling Miami defense and finished with just 17 points on 6-of-16 shooting.
Miami (23-9) seized the lead midway through the first quarter and never trailed after that, holding Los Angeles to 40 percent shooting for the game.
The Christmas Day meeting between the Lakers and Heat had been much anticipated since James and Bosh signed with Miami to join fellow All Star Dwyane Wade
Wade returned from a sore knee that kept him out of the Heat’s previous game and had 18 points as Miami earned their 14th win in 15 games.
Against the reigning two-times champions, the Heat raced out to a nine-point lead at halftime and built a 21-point advantage in the fourth.
“We don’t pay much attention to the score but we’re happy to win the game,” Bosh said. “We made it tough on them. A (defensive game) is our type of game.”
Los Angeles slogged through the opening quarter where they managed just 14 points, Bryant and Spain’s Pau Gasol combined to shoot 0-for-11 from the field.
The Lakers left the court to a shower of jeers from the home fans. LA were also beaten on Christmas Day last year by the Cleveland Cavaliers.