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Heat hold off Lakers for Christmas victory

LOS ANGELES -- LeBron James and Dwyane Wade put on a show Wednesday to help Miami hold off the depleted but dogged Los Angeles Lakers for a 101-95 Christmas NBA victory.

The two-time defending champion Heat were heavy favorites in the holiday matchup against a Lakers team beset by injuries — including the broken bone in superstar Kobe Bryant's left knee.

Bryant's absence robbed the contest of some of its marquee value, but the 35-year-old star said before the game that he had every confidence he'd be back this season.

“The spirits are fine,” said Bryant, who had played in just six games this season after returning from a torn left Achilles tendon suffered last April.

The Lakers, losers of their last two contests, managed to stick with the Heat for much of the game, which was tied 83-83 with 8:25 remaining.

But the Heat authored a 9-0 scoring run to take control for good.

“You can't ever underestimate teams like that, that have been counted out because of all the injuries but have found a way to win,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That shows a grittiness, that you're going to have to earn it.”

Wade and Chris Bosh both scored 23 points for the Heat. Wade added seven assists and six rebounds and Bosh pulled down 11 rebounds.

James's 19 points were relatively modest by his standards, but included a couple of thrilling alley-oop dunks with assists from Wade.

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In this photo taken by Juan Ocampo and provided by NBAE via Getty Images/AFP, Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat drives to the basket against Jodie Meeks #20 of the Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles on Wednesday. (AP)



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