Coming off a disappointing postseason exit, the Los Angeles Lakers entered the 2005-06 NBA season with a clean slate. On Jan. 16, 2006, the team faced a good, but difficult challenge at home against a tough Miami Heat team that was efficient on both sides of the ball.
The Lakers jumped out to an early advantage and led the Heat by six points after one quarter. The second quarter was more of the same for Los Angeles — this time outscoring Miami by nine points — thus entering halftime with a 57-42 cushion.
The Lakers would see their lead diminish in the third quarter, as the Heat trimmed the deficit to nine points with 12 minutes left in the game. While Miami would trade shot-for-shot with Los Angeles in the final quarter, the Lakers managed to pick up an important win against the eventual NBA champions.
Kobe Bryant was the focal point of Los Angeles’ offense with a game-high 37 points on 13-of-24 shooting during the contest. He additionally knocked down two of his five shots from behind the arc and recorded four assists and three rebounds on the night.
Lamar Odom also made his presence felt offensively and nearly posted a triple-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in just under 41 minutes of action. Devean George provided a much-needed spark off the bench with 17 points in 26 minutes on the floor.
Leading the way for the Heat was Dwyane Wade, who scored 34 points while converting 11 of his 24 field goal attempts. What’s more, he dished out seven assists, collected two boards and tallied a block on the defensive end.
Longtime Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal returned to Staples Center and put up a double-double behind 18 points and 10 rebounds in 31 minutes. Udonis Haslem followed suit with 13 points and 12 rebounds, while James Posey was the only other member of the Heat to reach double-digits in scoring with 11 points.
For the Lakers, the victory improved their record to 21-17 on the year and increased their winning streak to three games in the process. The Heat fell to 23-16 after the loss, though they maintained a strong standing in the Eastern Conference.
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