Los Angeles Lakers vs Miami Heat Preview

Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

Los Angeles Lakers vs Miami Heat Preview

NBA

Los Angeles Lakers vs Miami Heat Preview

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Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

Tonight, the Los Angeles Lakers will be traveling down to South Beach to take on the Miami Heat, in the second meeting between these inter-conference teams of the season. Earlier this season, in Los Angeles, the Lakers took the first game by three points in overtime. The Heat will look to even the season series in what is a rematch from the 2020 NBA Finals. Miami is coming off a loss in their last game to the Atlanta Hawks while the Lakers beat the Orlando Magic last time out. The Heat have won 11 of their last 15 games and will look to defend home court against Los Angeles.

However, the Lakers may be getting some needed reinforcements as star forward Anthony Davis has been upgraded to questionable to play in this game after missing the last month of the season with an injury. Davis would be a much-needed piece in this game as he is the Lakers best defender and their best option at defending Miami center Bam Adebayo. The Lakers have a record of 9-4 straight up against Miami in their last 13 games and will look to continue their winning ways against the cross-country foe.

How Los Angeles can win: For the Lakers to win, they’ll need a complete team effort in this game. The Lakers are averaging 111.3 points per game on 46.4 percent shooting and allowing 112.8 points per game on 45.2 percent shooting. Lebron James has been playing some of the best basketball of his career this season, but he alone won’t be able to take down this Heat squad. Possibly getting David back for this game would be huge as he would allow them to have a real presence at the rim to stop Heat forward Jimmy Butler when he attacks the paint. However, even if Davis does return there is no telling how he will play as he has been out of the lineup since December 17th and may be a little rusty.

The Lakers will need guard Malik Monk and forward Carmelo Anthony to play well in this game if they are to have a chance of picking up another road win. Monk has formed some nice chemistry with James this season and has been a bright spot for Los Angeles. While James will likely be covering Butler at times in this game, the emergence of forward Stanley Johnson allows James to take coverage on other players. Johnson has shown the ability to fight hard on the defensive end while guarding the opposing teams’ best players. Butler will be a tough test for Johnson but if he can even limit him slightly, the Lakers have the offense to keep up with Miami.

How Miami can win: Point guard Kyle Lowry and guard Tyler Herro will be out for this game but even with key players being in and out of the lineup this season, this Heat team competes for the entire game. They play extremely hard on the defensive side of the ball and have a nice, modern style of basketball on offense to compliment themselves. Against a team like the Lakers, who is prone to defensive lapses, the Heat should look to take advantage of cutting lanes and open three-point shots. One aspect could be to attack guard Russell Westbrook on defense, as he has shown this season to be a below average on-ball defender. Expect Heat coach Erik Spoelstra to attack different spots on the court where Westbrook is to gain advantages. On defense, the Heat could look to force Westbrook to take bad shots as he in in the midst of some poor recent outings.

The Heat are averaging 108.5 points per game on 45.9 percent shooting while allowing 103.9 points per game on 44.1 percent shooting. Jimmy Butler will need to step up in this game with other guys missing and he has had a good season thus far. He is averaging 21.7 points and 5.8 assists per game, leading the way for Miami.

The Spread Via FanDuel:

Moneyline: LAL: (+128) | MIA: (-152)

Spread: LAL: +3 (-112) | MIA: -3 (-108)

Final Prediction: Miami Heat 111 Los Angeles Lakers 104

-The Lakers have struggled to beat bad teams around the association and have shown a pattern of losing to the good teams. Miami has been winning games at home by an average of 6.8 points so look for that trend to continue. Even if Davis comes back, the Lakers are too steaky of a team at the moment to pick them and Miami is much better defensively. It should be a back-and-forth type of game with Miami pulling away slightly towards the end.

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