LeBron James scored a season-high 51 points as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the host Miami Heat 113-97 on Sunday night.
James, who won four Eastern Conference titles and two NBA championships in four years with Miami, made 19 of 31 shots from the floor, including 6 of 8 on three-pointers. He added eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block while making 7 of 10 on free throws. He set the record for most points scored by a Lakers player against Miami.
In addition, the Lakers were plus-20 during James’ 38 minutes on the court. James had 19 points in the first quarter, 28 points at halftime and 42 through three quarters.
The Lakers, who have won five of their past six games, also got a season-high 19 points from reserve Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Wayne Ellington led Miami with 19 points, and Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson added 17 points each. However, Richardson was upset with the officiating and was ejected from the game in the fourth quarter after throwing one of his sneakers into the crowd. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, in support of Richardson, also got hit with a technical foul.
The game marked the season debut for Heat forward James Johnson, who scored eight points off the bench. He had been out due to hernia surgery.
However, Miami was without starting point guard Goran Dragic, who leads the team in assists and ranks second in scoring. He is out due to an injury to his right knee.
In addition, Heat reserve guard Dwyane Wade, who is on an extended paternity leave, missed his seventh straight game.
James was hot from the start, getting an assist and a dunk on the first two Lakers possessions. He led the Lakers to a 34-21 lead in the first quarter, shooting 8-of-10 from the floor, including 3-of-4 on three-pointers.
Tyler Johnson made 12 straight Heat points in the second quarter, but Miami still trailed 67-52 at halftime. During his streak, Johnson went 4-for-6 from the floor, including a pair of three-pointers, and 2-for-2 on free throws.
The Lakers, who led by as many as 18 points in the first half, stretched their advantage to 92-76 after three and cruised in the fourth.
—Field Level Media