The first chore for the Miami Heat is done: They're in the playoffs.
That's no surprise.
Snapping a five-game slide by beating the NBA's hottest team to get there, well, that might not have been what everyone saw coming.
Chris Bosh scored 24 points, Dwyane Wade added eight of his 20 in the fourth quarter and the host Heat ended their losing streak by beating the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers 94-88 on Thursday night, the earliest Miami has secured a post-season bid in franchise history.
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LeBron James finished with 19 points, nine assists and eight rebounds for the Heat, and Mike Miller scored 12 for Miami.
Kobe Bryant scored 24 points for the Lakers, whose eight-game winning streak was snapped. Pau Gasol added 20 and Andrew Bynum finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds for Los Angeles.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson provided some drama before tipoff anyway. Jackson said he doesn't like how Miami plays, even likening its style to an Xbox video game.
"I'm not a big fan of the style that Miami plays," Jackson said.
With the game tied at 88, Wade knocked the ball away from Bryant, got it back and set up James for a dunk in transition to send Miami up again, 90-88.
Wade then drove and got a layup to bounce through for a four-point edge with 46.0 seconds left.
Bryant lost the ball under the Lakers' basket five seconds later, and James put it away with two free throws with 19.2 seconds remaining.
Around the league
Bulls: Carlos Boozer is day-to-day with a sprained left ankle and could be out for as much as a week. Boozer was going for a layup in the fourth quarter Wednesday when he was knocked to the floor on a flagrant foul by Charlotte's Kwame Brown.
Hornets: Chris Paul returned to practice on Thursday on a limited basis. Whether Paul has recovered enough from his mild concussion to play Saturday night could be determined as early as Friday.