LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers missed having Kobe Bryant out on the court on Christmas Day. Same for LeBron James.
Playing without its biggest star, Los Angeles stayed right with the Miami Heat for most of the day before slipping to a 101-95 loss against the defending NBA champions Wednesday.
Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade had 23 points apiece, and James added 19 points in the Heat’s sixth straight win. Bosh grabbed 11 rebounds and Ray Allen made four three-pointers for 12 points, helping Miami improve to 5-0 against the Lakers on the holiday.
“I knew we would get a good game out of them, and I think the NBA wanted a good game,” James said, noting the blowout results of the first two games on the league’s holiday schedule.
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Bryant was relegated to the sideline with his fractured left knee, leaving him unable to extend his NBA record for Christmas Day appearances to 16.
“It’s not as special when Kobe’s not out there,” said James, who shared a post-game hug with Bryant.
Streaky reserve Nick Young scored 20 points for the Lakers, who were tied four times in the fourth quarter. Jodie Meeks added 17 points, Xavier Henry had 14 and Pau Gasol added 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Miami shot 51 percent from the field while improving to 7-0 against the Western Conference this season. It was its 19th straight win overall against West opponents.
Bosh scored 13 of his 23 points in the first half, when Miami trailed 27-21 after the first quarter.
Los Angeles shot 42 percent in its third straight loss. The Lakers were 14 of 36 from three-point range as they tried to go over the top to beat the Heat’s rugged interior.
Jordan Farmar returned from a left hamstring tear after missing 10 games, giving the Lakers a true point guard to run the offense. But he was ineffective, with three points and two assists in 32 minutes.
SAN ANTONIO — James Harden scored 28 points and Dwight Howard had 15 points and 20 rebounds, leading the balanced Houston Rockets to a 111-98 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
Each of Houston’s starters scored in double figures as the Rockets improved to 2-0 against the Spurs this season, with both victories coming on the road. They also moved within 3½ games of San Antonio (22-7) for the lead the Southwest Division.
Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones each scored 21 points for the Rockets (19-11), who shot 52 percent from the field. Jeremy Lin had 13 points, eight assists and just one turnover.
The Spurs have dropped two of three and split their past six games. They are just 3-6 over the last month against teams with a record above .500.
Super sub Manu Ginobili led San Antonio with 22 points, and Tim Duncan added 11 points and 14 rebounds. Kawhi Leonard had 13 points, but Tony Parker was held to six points on 3-for-11 shooting.
• Former Cougar Klay Thompson scored 23 points and blocked a shot by Chris Paul with one second left, then contested Jamal Crawford’s three-pointer that fell short at the final buzzer as the host Golden State Warriers beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-103. Crawford, from Rainier Beach High School, had 19 points. Blake Griffin was ejected for his second technical with 10:43 remaining.
• Kevin Durant scored 29 points, Russell Westbrook had a triple-double by the middle of the third quarter and the Oklahoma City Thunder rolled to a 123-94 victory over the host New York Knicks, who played without Carmelo Anthony (sprained ankle). Westbrook finished with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
• Taj Gibson scored 20 points and Jimmy Butler added 15 to help the Chicago Bulls rout the host Brooklyn Nets 95-78.