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Heat 107, Lakers 97

The SportsXchange

MIAMI - The Miami Heat, with Chris Bosh and Ray Allen healthy and back in the rotation, completed their weekend sweep of Los Angeles teams, beating the Lakers, 107-97, on Sunday afternoon.

The game, which was tied 53-53 at halftime, was fairly close throughout. But the Heat outscored the Lakers by five points in each of the last two quarters to earn the victory.

The Heat, which has won five games in a row, continues to lead the Eastern Conference with a 34-14 record.

The Lakers, who currently trail Portland and Utah in the battle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, fell to 24-28.

LeBron James continued his torrid shooting, leading the Heat with 32 points as Miami improved to 22-3 at home this season and 18-5 against teams from the Western Conference. That includes Friday's win over the Clippers.

James, who made 12 of 18 shots from the field, also had seven rebounds and four assists. Teammate Dwyane Wade added 30 points, two rebounds and five assists.

Bosh, who missed two games due to the flu, had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Allen, who missed one game due to the flu, had just two points. Allen has made just 4 of 28 shots in his past four games.

The Heat, which ranks next-to-last in the NBA in rebounding, had one of its best games on the boards. Facing a legitimate center in Dwight Howard, the Heat outrebounded the Lakers, 38-29.

Howard had 15 points and nine rebounds.

The Lakers were led by Kobe Bryant, who had 28 points, nine assists and six rebounds.

But the Lakers allowed the Heat to shoot 55 percent from the field.

Notes: James was shooting an absurd 72 percent from the field in his past four games entering Sunday, the best stretch of his career. ... Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said one reason for James' improved shooting this season (56 percent) is his team's acquisition of Allen. "LeBron has the benefit of Ray and the rest of those guys and seeing their shooting routines," Spoelstra said. ... After a 15-21 start, the Lakers entered Sunday having won seven of their past nine games. ... Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni praised Spoelstra: "He doesn't get his due. He's done an unbelievable job getting his team through some rough spots." ... James and teammates Wade and James Jones spent part of their day off on Saturday watching the University of Miami improve to 10-0 in the ACC with a 26-point win over North Carolina. Spoelstra wasn't there, but he said he is a fan of Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga. "What (the Canes) have been able to do is very cool," Spoelstra said. ... The Lakers ended their seven-game road trip and will return home to play the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday. ... The Heat ends its five-game home stand with a Tuesday date against the Portland Trail Blazers.
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