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LeBron James makes history as Lakers beat Heat for 7th straight win

  • Miam’s Jimmy Butler, right, drives to the basket as the Lakers’ JaVale McGee defends during the first half of Friday’s game at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez )

  • The Lakers’ Anthony Davis defends as Miami’s Bam Adebayo looks to shoot during the first half of Friday’s game at Staples Center. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

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  • The Lakers’ LeBron James (23) scores past Miami’s Duncan Robinson (55) during the first half of Friday’s game at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez )

  • Avery Bradley #11 of the Los Angeles Lakers fouls Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat during the first half of a game at Staples Center on November 08, 2019 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat dribbles past Danny Green #14 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of Friday’s game at Staples Center. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, right, is defended by Miami Heat’s James Johnson during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat dribbles past Danny Green #14 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of Friday’s game at Staples Center. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • The Lakers’ Anthony Davis shoots over Miami’s Bam Adebayo, left, and Kendrick Nunn, center, during the first half of Friday’s game at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez )

  • Goran Dragic #7 of the Miami Heat passes between the Lakers’ Alex Caruso, right, and Quinn Cook during the first half of Friday’s game at Staples Center. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • James Johnson #16 of the Miami Heat drives past Alex Caruso #4 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of Friday’s game at Staples Center. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Avery Bradley (11) during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • The Lakers’ Anthony Davis dunks next to Miami’s Bam Adebayo during the first half of Friday’s game at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez )

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis (3) dunks against the Miami Heat during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Dwight Howard #39 and Alex Caruso #4 of the Los Angeles Lakers defend against Goran Dragic #7 of the Miami Heat during the first half of Friday’s game at Staples Center. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat shoots over the defense of Danny Green #14 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of Friday’s game at Staples Center. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Dwight Howard (39) works for a rebound against Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler (22) shoots over Los Angeles Lakers’ JaVale McGee (7) and LeBron James (23) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • The Lakers’ LeBron James signals to a teammate during the first half of Friday’s game against Miami at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez )

  • Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo (13) dunks past Los Angeles Lakers’ Dwight Howard (39) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez )

  • The Lakers’ LeBron James, right, dribbles past Miami’s Jimmy Butler during the first half of Friday’s game at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez )

  • Miami’s Bam Adebayo grabs a rebound next to the Lakers’ Anthony Davis during the first half of Friday’s game at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez )

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis (3) dribbles during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 08: Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat defends against LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of a game at Staples Center on November 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 08: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives past Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat for a layup during the second half of a game at Staples Center on November 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 08: Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers blocks a shot by Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat during the second half of a game at Staples Center on November 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 08: JaVale McGee #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers battles Kelly Olynyk #9 of the Miami Heat for position during the second half of a game at Staples Center on November 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 08: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives past #13 of the Miami Heat during the second half of a game at Staples Center on November 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 08: Tyler Herro #14 of the Miami Heat battles Quinn Cook #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers for a loose ball during the second half of a game at Staples Center on November 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 08: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles upcourt during the second half of a game against the Miami Heat at Staples Center on November 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 08: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers moves past Kelly Olynyk #9 of the Miami Heat during the second half of a game at Staples Center on November 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 08: Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat defends against the shot of Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of a game at Staples Center on November 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 08: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers moves past Kelly Olynyk #9 and James Johnson #16 of the Miami Heat during the second half of a game at Staples Center on November 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 08: Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles past Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat during the second half of a game at Staples Center on November 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo, center, vies for a rebound with Los Angeles Lakers’ Dwight Howard, left, and Quinn Cook during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 08: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers passes the ball during the second half of a game against the Miami Heat at Staples Center on November 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 08: JaVale McGee #7 and Danny Green #14 of the Los Angeles Lakers defend against Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat during the second half of a game at Staples Center on November 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 08: JaVale McGee #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks the ball during the second half of a game against the Miami Heat at Staples Center on November 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 08: Avery Bradley #11 of the Los Angeles Lakers defends against the dribble of Goran Dragic #7 of the Miami Heat during the second half of a game at Staples Center on November 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Quinn Cook dribbles against the Miami Heat during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (23) is defended by Miami Heat’s Tyler Herro (14) and James Johnson (16) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (23) during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (23) celebrates after making a 3-point basket with Alex Caruso (4) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler, left, scores over Los Angeles Lakers’ Quinn Cook during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James reacts after making a 3-point basket against the Miami Heat during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (23) celebrates his 3-point basket with Quinn Cook during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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LOS ANGELES — A gimmicky defense can work in the NBA, in certain circumstances.

A zone defense doesn’t work, for example, for defending a team that can ping the ball through half-court sets, or a team that has physical forwards who are comfortable driving through traffic.

Unfortunately for the Miami Heat, the Lakers have both.

The visiting Heat (6-3) made a grinding affair of Friday night’s contest with the league’s hottest team, but were eventually overwhelmed by a return to regular dominance by Anthony Davis (26 points), a late surge by LeBron James (25 points) combined with ample ball movement that gave the Lakers (7-1) a 95-80 win, their seventh straight.

It’s the longest win streak the Lakers have enjoyed since the 2010-11 season when they won nine in a row.

It wasn’t the only history for the Lakers. James became just the third player in NBA history with 1,000 games of 20 or more points (Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are the others), and as he does so often against his former teams, he added a bit of flair. James’ dagger 3-pointer from the left flank to put the Lakers ahead by 15 points with just two minutes left came mere feet in front of his old Heat teammate and close friend, Dwyane Wade, who had to clap in appreciation.

Again, the Lakers couldn’t rely on 3-point shooting (8 for 32), but they found ways to score anyway – finding Davis from all sorts of angles, and with James charging into the paint unmercifully against the franchise he once powered to a pair of championships. When Miami’s defense attempted to gunk up the paint with 2-3 zone schemes, the Lakers responded with slick passing, finishing with 30 assists on 40 baskets.

The bench magic that guided the Lakers to victory in Chicago was lacking: The Heat reserves outscored their Laker counterparts 34-22. The starters, on the other hand, were better than they’ve been in a series of slow starts leading up to Friday’s game.

Davis shook off his rust from the Bulls game early, scoring 12 points in the first quarter alone. Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk were overwhelmed by Davis’ deft touch (he was 11 for 17 from the field). As the Heat tried to swarm him in the second half, he responded by sharing the ball and finished with a season-high seven assists.

James picked up steam as the game rolled along, overcoming a sketchy start form the field by attacking the basket. In the second half, he was 8 for 12 from the floor, and scored 12 of his points in the final quarter, hitting a pair of closing 3-pointers for good measure to essentially end the game.

The surprise of the night was JaVale McGee, who has struggled more than any starter in the early portion of the season. The veteran center had nine points to go with 10 rebounds and a blocked shot, contributing to a 13-2 run to begin the game. While McGee has been outshined by Howard in several games already, the Lakers outscored the Heat by 20 points when he was on the court.

The Lakers held Miami to one field goal and six points in the final 8:54, limiting the Heat to a 6-of-35 night from 3-point range and outrebounding them 48-37. Coach Frank Vogel said his analytics staff reported that the Lakers contested 88 percent of the Heat’s shots.

The Lakers next face the visiting Toronto Raptors, who could be without stalwarts Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka due to injury, on Sunday night.

More to come on this story.

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