With the Los Angeles Lakers coming off a loss and playing a third back-to-back in as many weekends, they faced the prospect of a losing record on their three-game road trip. LeBron James took matters into his own hands, however, electrifying American Airlines Arena.
James got to the basket at will and made multiple 3-pointers to come out of the gate with 19 points in the first quarter. His effort helped the Lakers take a double-digit lead in what went down as a wire-to-wire victory.
A relatively modest second quarter (nine points) was followed by James scoring 14 in the third to help the Lakers fight off the Heat’s comeback attempt. Los Angeles was up by 16 and James had 42 points heading into the fourth.
He finished with 51 points, capped off by a 32-foot 3-pointer to give him a 12th career game with at least 50 points. James’ performance set a Lakers franchise record for most points against the Heat, which Kobe Bryant held when he scored 42 points on Christmas Day in 2004.
When James wasn’t scoring, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope provided production off the bench. He made his first three 3-pointers and was twice fouled on an attempt from deep. Caldwell-Pope led all bench players with 19 points in his fifth consecutive game scoring in double figures.
The win was the Lakers seventh in their last nine games.