It was hailed as the most highly anticipated NBA game in the history of everything ever! The NBA game of NBA games! The game that was going to blow your ass off with its sheer apocalyptic awesome! And, in the end, the Miami Heat took down the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers 96-80 in the one-sided Christmas Day affair.
LeBron James dropped his 31st career triple-double, leading all scorers with 27. Chris Bosh added 26 points and 13 boards, and Dwyane Wade contributed 18 of his own as the Big Three won their 14th of the last 15 games, upping their record to 23-9 while the Heat Haters furiously scramble to dismiss yet another victory against an elite team (yes the Heat beat L.A. by 16, but can they do it... AGAINST GRIZZLIES RIDING ON GREAT WHITE SHARKS??)
Both teams downplayed the Christmas Day showdown as just another game. But then the Heat came out and played as if they were just fucking with us when they said that.
Miami set the tone for the entire game in the first quarter, stifling Kobe Bryant and his Grinchy shoes with their defense, keeping him at 6-for-16 for the game and forcing the Lakers to miss 10-straight field goals in the first quarter. With the raucous L.A. crowd quickly silenced, the Lakers fell behind and never really made much of a push thereafter, as the Heat kept pushing with aggressive play on both ends of the floor. Chris Bosh set the tone for Miami with an 18-point output in the first half, eventually finishing the night with 24. The Heat are totally better off without him.
As he is wont to do on the road, LeBron shifted into Silence The Dick-Biters Mode, and came out and took control of the game from the start with a ball-crushing performance. James went 5-for-6 from the three-point line, 6-for-6 from the free throw line and recorded 4 steals on the game while dealing with Ron Artest's bully tactics and Kobe's trash talk. James entered the game with the now all-too familiar smattering of boos from the L.A. faithful. By the fourth quarter, you could hear "M-V-P" chants when he went to the free throw line.
As impressive as the Heat has been with its scoring during this stretch of good times, much of the credit has to go to the stifling defense the team has been playing of late. Forcing Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol to start the game for a combined 0-for-10 in L.A. is no small feat.
It's an important win for the Heat, in that they stay only two games behind Boston for the best record in the East. And while the Heat Haters are busy sticking their tongues on a frozen pole this Christmas, they're also feverishly devising reasons why this win is totally meaningless (unless, of course, the Heat had lost).
Yes the the Big Three combined for 69 points and 29 rebounds against the defending world champs and held Kobe to 17 points, but can they do it... WITH A HORDE OF BEES IN THEIR MOUTHS???