Sorry Laker fans, Santa Claus couldn't work a miracle this time around.
The Miami Heat beat the Los Angeles Lakers, 101-95, during their Christmas Day showdown on Wednesday afternoon at Staples Center.
In a closer-than-expected game that saw seven lead changes, with each team taking leads by as much as 10 points, and eight ties, the back-to-back champions proved too strong and too fast for the hobbled Lakers.
The Heat outshot the Lakers, 51.2% to 41.8%. They outhustled the Lakers on fast-break points, 21-11. And they had 58 points in the paint while the Lakers had only 26.
The Lakers opened the fourth quarter with an 8-3 run to take an 81-79 lead over Miami near the 10-minute mark.
The Heat then went on a 13-2 run.
Miami power forward Chris Bosh, who had a painful 0-for-4 shooting start from the field in the first quarter, finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Heat Dwyane Wade had 23 points, six rebounds and seven assists while forward LeBron James contributed 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Nick Young led the Lakers with 20 points and Jodie Meeks added 17. Pau Gasol had 13 points and 13 rebounds and Jordan Hill had nine points and 10 rebounds.
Heat 76, Lakers 74 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers reclaimed the lead for a moment in the third quarter, but trail the Miami Heat by two points heading into the final quarter of play Wednesday afternoon at Staples Center.
Jodie Meeks scored two consecutive three-pointers at the top of the quarter to give the Lakers a 57-55 advantage.
The Heat quickly turned things around.
No play highlighted the Lakers' struggles better than a sequence at the 5:54 mark.
Meeks stole the ball and passed it to a wide open Pau Gasol down low. Gasol then missed the layup. The Heat recovered the ball, dished it down court to LeBron James, who proceeded to slam the ball and hang on the rim in celebration for a few seconds.
Timeout Lakers. Crowd boos loudly.
Nick Young got streaky toward the end of the quarter, scoring seven consecutive points in a one-minute stretch to cut the Heat's lead to 68-66 with 4:21 left in the quarter.
The Heat then immediately fired back with a 6-1 run.
Young closed the quarter with a fade-away jump shot from three-point range.
Meeks has 16 points and Young has 14 for the Lakers.
Chris Bosh leads the Heat with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Heat 51, Lakers 46 (halftime)
The Miami Heat used a 10-2 run midway through second quarter to reverse a six-point deficit and take the lead at halftime on Wednesday at Staples Center.
Ray Allen made a three-pointer to tie the score, 34-34, with 7 minutes and 34 seconds left in first half.
The Heat proceeded to score 10 of the next 12 points, forcing Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni to call a timeout with 3:42 left in the quarter.
The Heat are shooting 56.8% compared to the Lakers' 37.8%.
Miami forward Chris Bosh, who was scoreless in the first quarter, had 10 points in the second. The Heat's Big Three (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Bosh) have a combined 36 points.
A highlight happened at the 2:37 mark. Wade threw the ball off the glass and James dunked it with his left hand, prompting an ABC announcer to say: "They should just stop the game now."
James and Kobe Bryant, who is out with a fractured bone in his left knee, exchanged a hug during the second quarter.
Lakers 27, Heat 21 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers went on a 10-0 run to take the first-quarter lead over Miami on Wednesday afternoon at Staples Center.
The Heat are actually shooting better than the Lakers, making 50% of their attempts from the field while the Lakers are shooting 40.9%. But the Lakers are out-rebounding the Heat, 13-9.
Also notable, the Lakers' bench is outscoring the Heat's reserves, 10-2.
Miami forward LeBron James leads all players with 10 points on four-for-five shooting, and he has five rebounds.
Jodie Meeks has eight points, one rebound and one assist for the Lakers.
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