Brilliant Bryant buzzer-beater sinks Heat

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Kobe Bryant made a sensational buzzer-beating three-pointer to give the Los Angeles Lakers a 108-107 victory over the Miami Heat on Friday.

With the Lakers trailing by two and 3.2 seconds left on the clock, Bryant took an inbounds pass, dribbled left and put a running 27-foot shot in off the glass to give the Lakers their eighth victory in a row.

"I got the ball a lot further out than I would have liked and I just hit a lucky shot," Bryant told reporters.

Bryant scored 17 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter to get the better of Miami's Dwyane Wade, who finished with 26.

"(Wade) and I both tried to get something going (in the fourth). He's just a tough guard to play."

The Lakers led by nine with 6:24 to go, but the relentless Heat clawed their way back to take a 102-100 lead on Wade's shot in the final minute.

Wade scored nine of his team's final 11 points and finished with nine assists but it was not enough to prevent Miami (10-9) losing for the fourth time in five games.

Pau Gasol had 22 points and eight rebounds and Andrew Bynum added 19 and eight for last season's champions Los Angeles, who improved to an NBA-best 15-3.


The Lakers, who have benefitted from a schedule that has included 14 of their 18 games at home, had not been challenged in a close contest during their win streak until hosting the Heat.

Los Angeles started slow but took a 51-48 halftime advantage and led for most of the second half.

The struggling Heat hung around and got great contributions from Jermaine O'Neal (16 points), Udonis Haslem (14) and Quentin Richardson (13) to help the team survive a slow start for Wade, who finished with just 7-for-21 shooting.

Wade and Bryant, U.S. team mates at the 2008 Olympics, both kicked things into high gear in the fourth, but it was the Lakers' leader who finished on top and added another highlight to his remarkable career.

"The basketball gods were with him on that one," Wade said of Bryant's final shot. "A great player hit an unbelievable shot."

Los Angeles forward Lamar Odom was ejected late in the fourth quarter when he pushed O'Neal following a confrontation for his second technical foul of the game.

(Writing by Jahmal Cornet in Phoenix, Editing by Peter Rutherford)