Sunday afternoon. National television. LeBron James with a franchise record within reach.
It was June in February at AmericanAirlines Arena.
And a reminder of what the Miami Heat can be when they want to be, when pushed, when showcased.
Even with the Los Angeles Lakers playing as something closer to advertised, the Heat put another stamp on their homecourt dominance with this 107-97 victory.
Cooling from his 5-of-5 start and recent can't-miss shooting, James didn't back down from his scoring, becoming the first Heat player to score 30 or more in five consecutive games, this time closing with 32 on 12-of-18 shooting.
With Dwyane Wade adding 30 points also on 12-of-18 shooting and Chris Bosh returning from a two-game absence to add 11 rebounds, the Heat swept the two-game season series, as it becomes clearer that there will be no reprise of this high-profile matchup in the NBA Finals.
The Lakers, desperately fighting for a playoff spot, had their moments, with Kobe Bryant going for 28 and nine assists, and Dwight Howard adding 15 points and nine rebounds.
The Heat have now won seven in a row at home and improved to 22-3 at AmericanAirlines Arena.
When it wasn't LeBron or Wade or Bosh, it was Shane Battier loading up with 3-pointers, Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole outplaying Steve Nash tag-team style, and Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen making rebounding the Lakers' problem.
James ended the third quarter with a flourish, with his 3-pointer off a rebound of his missed free throw giving the Heat a 78-73 lead going into the fourth quarter.
He then reached 30 with a booming transition slam dunk in the fourth.
LeBron dynamic, Wade prolific in 107-97 victory over Lakers
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Feb 10