Monday , Jan , 16 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Kobe, Shaq clash for final time in 2005-06 campaign

=== Kobe, Shaq clash for final time in 2005-06 campaign ===

(Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal will meet for the second
and final time in the 2005-06 campaign, as the Los Angeles Lakers welcome the
Miami Heat tonight to the Staples Center.

On Christmas Day, O’Neal registered 18 points and 17 rebounds to lead the
Heat to a 97-92 victory over Bryant and the Lakers at AmericanAirlines
Arena. Bryant has a strong game in defeat as he led all scorers with 37
points.

Miami has won three straight after losing the last three meetings in this
series. The Heat have won three of their last five at the Lakers.

The Heat, who played their first season in the NBA in the 1988-89 campaign,
made their most significant trade in franchise history during the 2004 summer
when they acquired O’Neal from the Lakers on July 14th in exchange for
forwards Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, who is now a member of the Phoenix Suns,
Caron Butler, who was dealt to Washington this past offseason, and a first-
round draft pick. Together O’Neal and Bryant won three championships with Los
Angeles. Shaq spent eight seasons with Bryant and the Lakers.

O’Neal was originally drafted out of Louisiana State in the first round (1st
overall) of the 1992 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic. He spent four seasons
with the Magic before being signed as a free agent by the Lakers on July 18,
1996.

The Lakers enter tonight’s contest on a two-game winning streak. On Saturday,
Bryant poured in 38 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out seven
assists, as Los Angeles defeated the Golden State Warriors, 110-104, at The
Arena in Oakland.

Smush Parker finished with 24 points, 12 boards and six assists in the win
over the Warriors for Los Angeles, which has won five of its last six games
overall. Kwame Brown notched a double-double with 18 points and 12 boards,
while Chris Mihm scored 12 points and pulled down six rebounds in the victory.

Bryant has scored over 30 points in eight of his last nine contests and has
netted more than 20 in 17 straight games. The seven-time All-Star is averaging
34.2 points per game this season for the Lakers

LA is 9-8 as the host this season.

The Heat have won four straight games and play the finale of a season-long
seven-game road trip. They are 4-2 on the swing. Dwyane Wade netted a game-
high 31 points and added eight rebounds and eight assists as the Heat defeated
the Utah Jazz, 100-94, on Saturday at the Delta Center.

James Posey added 17 points and grabbed nine boards in the win over the Jazz
for Miami, while O’Neal poured in 12 points and pulled down 14 rebounds in
the victory.

On the injury front for the Heat, point guard Jason Williams (knee) is
questionable for tonight’s contest. Williams, who did not play against Utah
and has missed a total of 11 games this season, is averaging 14.5 points and
4.8 assists in the campaign.

Miami is 11-11 as the visitor this season.

LAL MIA