Commentary

A Lakers-Heat lesson in history

Updated: December 23, 2010, 1:10 AM ET
By Peter D. Newmann | ESPN Stats and Info

There have been only 44 games in the Miami Heat - Los Angeles Lakers regular-season rivalry. While the teams meet only twice per season, each matchup has been enhanced in recent years due to several players and coaches changing teams. Pat Riley went from the Lakers to the Heat (with a stop in between), as did Shaquille O'Neal. After the trade, O'Neal's feud with Kobe Bryant was very public. And Lamar Odom went from the Heat to the Lakers in the Shaq trade. Olympic teammates Bryant and Dwyane Wade are always fun to watch go head-to-head.

Deconstructing the Heat-Lakers series, with the most memorable moments and shots below. The Lakers host the Heat this Saturday on ABC.


1. Kobe hits buzzer-beater over Wade (Dec. 4, 2009)

Bryant
Bryant
Down by two with 3.2 seconds left, Bryant merely wanted to drive for a tying basket. His foot slipped when he got the ball, and Miami's defense forced Bryant to throw up an off-balance 3-point shot that was well off target and far too long. Yes, everything went wrong on the Lakers' final possession. Kobe somehow made it all right. Bryant banked in his final shot over Wade's outstretched arm at the buzzer, ending the superstars' sensational duel and sending the Lakers to their eighth straight victory 108-107 over the Heat. Bryant scored 33 points, but his falling bank shot from straight away likely will rank among the most incredible highlights of his career even if he refused to take too much credit for it. "It was the luckiest shot I've ever taken, by far," Bryant said. "It felt good, [but] I just couldn't believe this ball might go in on this shot."


2. Shaq and Kobe end feud -- Shaq dunks on Bynum;
then Bynum dunks on Shaq (Jan. 16, 2006)

Shaquille O'Neal

O'Neal

O'Neal got the word from Hall of Famer Bill Russell to make peace with Bryant, just as Russell once did with Wilt Chamberlain. O'Neal followed Russell's advice. Bryant then went out and scored 12 of his 37 points in the last 8½ minutes to lead the Lakers to a 100-92 victory over O'Neal and the Heat on a Monday night. Bryant said O'Neal first approached him while he was stretching before the game, and congratulated him on the birth of his daughter and the impending birth of a second child. "It made me feel good," Bryant said, adding he was surprised at O'Neal's gesture. "We've been through so many wars together. Now, just be able to move on, try to do the best for this team, wish him the best in South Beach. I think it's good for the city of Los Angeles, good for the NBA, good for the youth, being Martin Luther King Day." O'Neal and 18-year-old Lakers rookie Andrew Bynum dunked on each other late in the first half before exchanging elbows, resulting in a double technical. Bryant quickly got between the two.


3. Kobe misses potential game winner
at buzzer in Kobe-Shaq I (Dec. 25, 2004)

Bryant
Bryant
The brick wall came tumbling down. But that didn't stop the Heat from beating the Lakers in Shaq vs. Kobe I. With O'Neal watching from the bench after fouling out late in the fourth quarter, Wade and Eddie Jones scored four points each in overtime and the Heat beat the Lakers 104-102 to extend their winning streak to 11 games, equaling a franchise record. O'Neal had an explanation for his early exit. "No layups, no dunks," he said. For everybody? "Basically everybody, especially him," O'Neal replied. O'Neal was referring to Bryant -- the former teammate he had refused to identify by name for quite some time. The Heat survived despite a season-high 42 points by Bryant. But the Lakers' star was held scoreless in overtime, missing three shots including a 3-pointer at the buzzer. "I had a pretty good look, but I didn't get the balance I would have liked on the shot," Bryant said. "I knew that it wasn't going to go in," O'Neal said. "It's called Shaq O'Neal fate."

4. Kobe misses potential game-tying shot at buzzer (Dec. 19, 2008)

Wade
Wade
Wade watched the ball leave Bryant's hand and sail toward the basket, just as time expired. He watched it drop over the front of the rim, then bounce tantalizingly, adding even more drama to a suspenseful ending. Finally, the ball fell away. "About time we got a break," Wade said. As the saying goes, the Heat made their own breaks. Wade snapped out of a mild slump with 35 points, and the Heat defense stifled the high-powered Lakers in ways no opponent had managed that season on the way to an 89-87 victory over the reigning Western Conference champions. Miami held the Lakers to a season low in points, forced 21 turnovers, Los Angeles' second-highest total of the year, and survived the final dagger that Bryant, the league's MVP, could hoist their way. "It was going down, then just popped out," said Bryant, who led the Lakers with 28 points. "Happens sometimes." Bryant made a spinning jumper from the left side of the lane to get the Lakers within two points with 41.7 seconds left, but his final shot from just a couple of steps farther back simply wouldn't go down.


5. Kobe (over his head)
to Luke Walton (behind his back) to Odom (Feb. 28, 2008)

Bryant
Bryant
In a Lakers victory that was not particularly close, one third-quarter play stood out, as Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton and Lamar Odom combined on what Los Angeles Times writer Mike Bresnahan described as "a tic-tac-toe play" in which Bryant passed the ball over his head and down the floor to Walton who threw a behind-the-back pass to Odom for a dunk.


6. Shaq blocks Zo on three straight shots (March 20, 2000)

Mourning

Mourning

Early in the second half of a game the Heat seemed to have had well in hand, O'Neal blocked three consecutive shots by Mourning. The Lakers had trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half but came back to win the game, 100-89.


7. Shaq bests Zo (Jan. 10, 1997)

Shaquille O'Neal

O'Neal

The game was tight until the Lakers pulled away in the fourth quarter. O'Neal had 34 points and 14 rebounds and Mourning was nearly as good, tallying 31 points and 13 rebounds. "I'm trying to embarrass him before he embarrasses me," O'Neal said of the matchup in the LA Daily News. "When you're in the spotlight and get a lot of attention, other centers try to prove to you then can play, too. But outplay me? Not in my house."


BONUS (KOBE BRYANT vs. LEBRON JAMES):
James
James
8. Kobe hits clutch shot vs. LeBron and Cavs (Jan. 12, 2006)

Bryant nailed three clutch shots down the stretch to outduel LeBron James and carry the Lakers to a 99-98 win over Cleveland. Bryant scored 27 points to lead the Lakers to their fourth win in five games. Although his streak of five consecutive 40-point games ended, Bryant played the second half with a sprained right wrist and still managed to carry the Lakers to a win, making key baskets over James in the waning moments. With the game tied at 93, Bryant put the Lakers in front when he hit an 18-foot jumper over James with 1:30 remaining. Zydrunas Ilgauskas answered with a layup for Cleveland with 1:09 to go. Bryant, who made nine-of-21 shots, nailed another jumper from the left side with 50 seconds left, giving the Lakers a 97-95 edge. On the Cavaliers' next possession, Drew Gooden made a tough bank shot to tie the score with 31 seconds to play. The Lakers ran down the shot clock and Bryant sank a jumper over James with 8.6 seconds to play for a 99-97 advantage. On the next play, Bryant fouled James with 5.2 seconds to go. Struggling from the line all game, James made the first free throw but missed the second. But Gooden grabbed the rebound and called timeout with 4.2 seconds left. The Cavaliers again went to James, who took the inbounds pass above the arc and used a dribble to get past Bryant for a jumper from the left elbow that hit the back rim as time expired.

The summaries are compiled from newspaper and Internet reports.