(CNN) -- LeBron James led the much-vaunted Miami Heat to a morale-boosting Christmas Day victory over two-time defending NBA champions Los Angeles Lakers.
James notched 27 points with 10 assists and 11 rebounds for the 31st triple-double of his career in the 96-80 win in the heavyweight clash on the Lakers' home court.
Chris Bosh added 24 points and 13 rebounds for the Heat and Dwyane Wade chipped in 18 points despite a knee problem.
It was another chastening experience for the slumping Lakers and their talisman Kobe Bryant, after a 19-point home reverse to the Milwaukee Bucks four days previously.
James, who moved to the star-studded Heat from Cleveland in a free agent summer move, was delighted by their performance, with stifling defense the key.
"That's Miami Heat basketball," James told AFP.
"We just try to go out and defend. We know that's going to give us the best chance to win. When we're in tune like that defensively -- five guys on a string, we're all helping each other out -- we're a pretty good team."
It was the first meeting between the two teams since James, Wade and Bosh joined up with Miami, making them one of the favorites for the NBA championship.
A disgruntled Bryant was kept to 17 points, clearly losing is battle with fellow superstar James and the tension was evident at the end as they exchanged words.
"We're just two competitors, two guys just trying to will their team to victory," James said.
Bryant's take: "I just asked him what he got for Christmas."
Spain's Paul Gasol also scored 17 for the Lakers with Lamar Odom adding 14 points and nine rebounds, but they were well beaten.