LeBron dominates, Heat beat Lakers in LA

LeBron James had 39 points and eight assists [plus seven rebounds and three steals], Dwyane Wade added 27 points on his 31st birthday and the Miami Heat held off the Los Angeles Lakers 99-90 Thursday night to finish their six-game road trip with three wins.

Ray Allen scored seven of his nine points in the final 5 minutes as the defending NBA champions repelled a late charge by the Lakers, who lost for the seventh time in nine games.

Kobe Bryant scored 13 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter for Los Angeles, which rallied for a brief lead midway through the final period before James and Allen secured the Heat’s second win in their last eight road games against the Lakers.

Dwight Howard had 13 points and 16 rebounds, but missed two key free throws with 1:51 left while Miami pulled away, capping the All-Star starting center’s 5-for-13 effort at the line. Metta World Peace scored 16 points for the Lakers, who committed 20 turnovers and didn’t score in the final 2 1/2 minutes.

Pau Gasol had 12 points and four rebounds in his return from a five-game absence with a concussion for the Lakers, who had hoped to build on consecutive victories following a six-game losing streak that knocked them well out of the Western Conference playoff picture…

James and Wade got little help until Allen’s late flurry, but they didn’t need it. Chris Bosh had just seven points and six rebounds in 35 minutes for Miami.

Bryant scored at least 20 points in his 23rd consecutive game, but the NBA’s leading scorer missed 14 of his first 17 shots.

– Reported by Greg Beacham of the Associated Press