With the exception of his exquisite, coast-to-coast, running bank shot at the first-quarter buzzer and a few other transition opportunities, James wasn't an efficient scorer. He missed a number of chippies at the rim and never found the rhythm on his jumper. But James found Bosh on a bunch of nice-looking sets and helped revive the previously dormant Heat reserve corps.
When Wade can't get separation, he tries to draw contact while flinging up shots. That was his M.O. before halftime. But in the fourth quarter as the Heat's closer, Wade found his inner penetrator -- and notched a huge layup in the final minute. He also came up big on defense, where he locked down Kobe Bryant after the first quarter.
Was it a revelation or an aberration? After making a public declaration to be the man down low, Bosh delivered. He was aggressive from the first possession and spent most of his night around the basket. He attacked baseline against Pau Gasol, screened and slipped, and even unleashed the running hook. With James and Wade off their games, Bosh's huge contribution was timely.
The Lakers' big men were active helpers on the defensive end, but that left the Miami backboard open for business, and the Heat capitalized. Miami grabbed 18 offensive boards against the league's second-ranked rebounding team. By playing closer to the rim, Bosh was able to crash the offensive glass, totaling four on the night, while Wade and Mike Miller chased down three apiece.
After a scorching hot first quarter, the Lakers cooled off considerably. Their vaunted post game disappeared after halftime against a more responsive Heat defense willing to cede the weakside perimeter. As a result, an impatient Lakers squad tried to roboshoot itself to a win. Shot selection aside, the Lakers lost this game on the glass, a place they usually dominate opponents.