MIAMI — What happens when one of the league’s best teams doesn’t play like one of the league’s best teams against inferior opposition? It loses, of course. The Lakers got away with lackluster starts during victories over Philadelphia, Denver and Indiana. They hit the road and the road hit ’em between the eyes. The Lakers paid for a meandering start. The Heat did them no favors, building confidence when it became clear the Lakers couldn’t get away from them. Kobe Bryant scored 39 points for the Lakers. Dwyane Wade had 27 for Miami. Next: Charlotte on Friday night, another team the Lakers should beat. But will they?
“We could have played better, but we just didn’t play great,” Ron Artest said in the clearest post-game analysis. “It was great to see (Bryant) have a game like he did tonight. We let a team that we are better than stay in the game in the first half. The first half was bad. We have to come out and play hard for the whole game.”