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HEAT 101, LAKERS 85

Lakers no match for Heat, Wade

Heat guard Dwyane Wade gets past the Lakers' Kobe Bryant on a drive to the basket. Wade had the upper hand all game, scoring 40 points to Bryant's 16. (HANS DERYK/REUTERS)

MIAMI -- Growing up, Dwyane Wade was always around a television when it was time for the NBA's annual Christmas game telecast.

"You always watched," Wade said, "because something exciting always happened."

He wasn't watching yesterday -- because he was the one providing the excitement.

Wade dismissed all pregame suggestions that his Christmas would be a one-on-one showdown against Kobe Bryant, then turned the matchup of two of the NBA's best scorers into a one-sided battle. He had 40 points and 11 assists, leading Miami to a 101-85 win over the Los Angeles Lakers -- the third straight Christmas win for the Heat in the series.

"Makes it great, man, makes it great," Wade said. "To be playing on Christmas is great . . . And we can go home and continue enjoying Christmas Day knowing that you played an unbelievable game, knowing that your team played well and that you got a win. Ain't too many things better than that."

Wade made 12 of 20 shots from the floor, 15 of 16 at the line, and got a huge ovation from another sellout crowd when leaving with 57.9 seconds remaining.

The praise kept coming postgame, too.

"An outrageous night," Heat coach Pat Riley said.

"Flash, man," Heat forward Dorell Wright said. "That boy's got something."

"Pretty entertaining to watch," added Heat center Alonzo Mourning. "He's a special player."

Meanwhile, Bryant -- who entered the game as the sixth-leading scorer in the league at 27.8 points -- never got rolling. He missed his first six shots, finished 4-of-17 from the floor and with 16 points, 1 more than his season-low.

"You have to let it go," Bryant said. "It was disappointing, but we have two more games on this trip. It's a long season. We are 18-10. Now it is time to move on."

The Heat led, 30-16, after one quarter and never looked back.

"I told my coaches at halftime that I thought I would stay in the locker room and watch 'A Christmas Carol' and they could go out and do the rest of this game the way we were playing out there," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "I did not feel we were right from the opening tap in this game."

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