Shane Battier scored 11 and Mario Chalmers finished with 10 for Miami. James was sent home from the team’s shootaround practice earlier in the day to rest, and finished with eight rebounds and eight assists to go with 12 for 27 shooting.
Pau Gasol scored a season-high 26 for the Lakers, Kobe Bryant scored 24 and Andrew Bynum finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Miami moved to 5-0 this season without Dwyane Wade, who missed his second consecutive game with a sprained right ankle. He missed three games earlier this season with left foot soreness.
Bryant put together a great late run to attempt a comeback, banking in a 3-pointer and following that seconds later with a steal and transition dunk that got the Lakers within 94-84 with 2 minutes left.
But Derek Fisher’s 3-point try on the next Los Angeles possession hit the front of the rim, Udonis Haslem controlled the rebound and James made a 15-foot runner to seal the outcome.
ROCKETS 90, HORNETS 88
In Houston, Kevin Martin scored 27 of his 32 points in the first half, Samuel Dalembert grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds and Houston survived one of the worst fourth quarters in team history to beat New Orleans.
Courtney Lee scored a season-high 17 points and Kyle Lowry added 10 points and eight assists for the Rockets, who have won five in a row.
Jason Smith scored 17 points and Jarrett Jack and Marco Bellinelli added 15 points apiece for the Hornets, who have lost 12 of 13.
The Rockets tied a franchise-record low by scoring only 7 points in the final quarter.