The matchup lost a bit of its luster with Kobe Bryant's recent injury, but that didn't keep the Los Angeles Lakers from putting up a spirited fight on Christmas Day against the defending champion Miami Heat.
In the end, talent trumped effort, and the Heat survived with a 101-95 victory in Los Angeles. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade each scored a game-high 23 points while the Lakers were paced by Nick Young's 20 points off the bench.
LeBron James had just 19 points, converting only two field goals in the second half. But on this holiday, the NBA MVP's scoring talent wasn't needed. James contributed eight rebounds and four assists in the winning effort.
Using their familiar run-and-gun style, the Lakers managed to hang around for much of the game. Young, Jodie Meeks and Wesley Johnson knocked down four three-pointers apiece, as Los Angeles entered the fourth quarter trailing the Heat by just two points.
But Miami made the plays when needed. While James stayed relatively quiet offensively, Wade and Norris Cole combined for 15 fourth-quarter points. On the other side, the Lakers struggled to produce, scoring just two points over a six-minute span during the final frame.
Wednesday's game marked the 7th straight year James has played on Christmas Day. His numbers were slightly better the last time these two teams met on Dec. 25. In 2010, James posted a triple-double in Miami's win against Los Angeles.