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Bet on the NBAThe Miami Heat pulled out a win at home against the Los Angeles Lakers last night. Frankly, the Heat needed this one. After going 0-5 in their previous five games and falling to third place in the NBA Eastern Conference, many started to wonder if the team was all hype or if they could live up even a portion of the expectations from before the season even started.

The Heat had a pretty good game against the Lakers. Chris Bosh had a great game, and Dwyane Wade outplayed Laker Kobe Bryant. Miller and Bibby also shot 6-for-9 from three-point land, which is phenomenal. LeBron James had another off night, but the team pulled out a win regardless. The only real problem is that, despite having a good game and shutting down Bryant, the Heat barely won.

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The final score was 94-88, and the Lakers missed a few opportunities late in the game to close the gap. If the Lakers had a slightly better game or the Heat were slightly worse in any aspect, the night could easily have gone the other way. And Miami had the home-court advantage. It is hard to imagine that this Miami team will be good enough by playoff time to progress very far.

It is looking increasingly likely that the Eastern Conference finals will be a matchup between the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls. While the Heat are stacked with talent, they rely on star power and hype more than solid basketball. LeBron James' inability to hit a game-winning shot – or even develop a game-winning setup for a shot is an indication (and his wild left-handed layups don't count).

The Heat finally turned around their defense last night. During their five-game losing streak, they were allowing 101.4 points per game. They held the Lakers to 88. The Heat have only been averaging 91.5 points per game on offense, and last night's 94-point performance was not significantly better. Kobe Bryant's shutdown by Wade made a huge difference. The Heat also led 46-37 in rebounds.

The Heat are now two games behind the Chicago Bulls and three games ahead of the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference. Their next three games are all at home against the Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs, and Oklahoma City Thunder, which will be a challenge for the Heat. The Lakers next play the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, a team they are behind by 1.5 games in the West.


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