The much-hyped second matchup of the season between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat has lived up to the advanced billing with an exciting first half. Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 17 points, but the Heat took a 55-53 lead at halftime. The Lakers are looking for their ninth straight victory, while the Heat are trying to avoid a sixth straight loss.
Much was made of the Lakers' advantage down low heading into the game, but Miami outrebounded the Lakers 23-15 and grabbed 12 offensive rebounds on 24 field goal misses in the first 24 minutes. Andrew Bynum was held to just six points and one rebound in his 16 minutes, but Pau Gasol scored 14 points and grabbed three boards.
Chris Bosh led the Heat with 16 points in the first half. The Lakers did a good job on LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, limiting them to 15 points in 6-of-18 shooting, but Mike Miller scored 11 off the bench and point guard Mario Chalmers added nine points.
The Lakers shot 52.9% in the first half and got to the free throw line 15 times, compared to nine for Miami. If they can somehow find a way to get Bynum and Gasol more active in the game, especially on the glass, the Lakers should find a way to win this game. During their eight-game winning streak, the Lakers have trailed at halftime on the road three times, but held those three opponents to an average of 35 points in the third and fourth quarters.
For more information on tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.