With just hours to go, the biggest game for both teams are set on Christmas day once again. The reigning NBA champion Lakers will host the visiting Miami Heat and their new big 3. Here’s the breakdown of what the starting line-up should look like.
Derek Fisher – Carlos Arroyo
Kobe Bryant – Dwyane Wade
Ron Artest – LeBron James
Lamar Odom – Chris Bosh
Pau Gasol – Zydrunas Ilgauskas
To put it plain and simple, this is probably the biggest regular season game of the year for both teams. You got not just one All-Star player on a team, but three going against the defending champs. LeBron doesn’t seem to see this game as any more special than regular games. He stated in a recent interview, “It’s just another game with two great teams playing against one another.”
For LeBron, maybe his game in Cleveland was bigger. But as more people tend to see it, this isn’t just about LeBron. It’s about Wade, LeBron, and Bosh going up against Kobe Bryant and his supporting cast of talents such as Gasol, Odom, and the Killer B’s.
Miami has won 9 of their last 10 games. After a shaky start to their season, coach Erik Spoelstra has turned things around in December.
However, there are a few key injuries for Miami at the moment. Mike Miller just came back with a thumb injury and has played only two games in which he shot poorly in both. Dwyane Wade missed the Heat’s last game against the Phoenix Suns due to a sore left knee. We’ll see how he holds up against the Lakers running at him. Udonis Haslem has also been out since late November, but having 4 big men who have 10+ years in the league should be able to hold Miami up some way.
After getting destroyed by the depleted Bucks roster, the Lakers are stumbling into Christmas with an angry Kobe Bryant after getting T’d up twice late in the fourth quarter.
Here’s what the Lakers need to keep in mind and what Miami is capable of doing:
– The Lakers need to hold the Big 3 off, plain and simple. It is already difficult to stop one of them. For example, if LeBron is swarmed on defense, he can always dish the ball to Wade or Bosh. Hopefully Ron Ron, Kobe, Pau, and Lamar stick to these three all game.
– Miami can shoot. Bosh has improved his jump shot through the years. He has a great face-up game and Lamar will need to keep him in check if Bosh will take a jumper. If Bosh drives, Pau will need to step into the picture following Odom. But they need to be careful, because like I said before, Bosh can always toss the ball to a spot up James, House, or Chalmers who have been hitting 3’s all season long.
– Lakers need to set the tempo and run. If the Lakers have numbers on a fast break, they must take it to the hoop. At least draw a foul and get to the line.
– Gasol is the biggest factor. He was bullied by Andrew Bogut the whole night on Tuesday. Gasol must be aggressive in order for the Lakers to win.
Even though Phil Jackson and LeBron James doesn’t like games on Christmas day, NBA fans should enjoy the day as plenty of teams will put on a great show.
Merry Christmas to everybody out there! Have a great day, be safe, and go Lakers!