Lakers Vs. Heat Preview: L.A. Looks To Bounce Back In Miami

Coming off a tough loss to the New York Knicks in what could’ve been Kobe Bryant’s last time playing in Madison Square Garden, the Los Angeles Lakers will look to get back on the win column as they continue their five-game road trip against the Miami Heat.

Besides getting their first win of the season Friday night against the Brooklyn Nets, the Lakers are 1-5 for the second consecutive season and are looking to turn the tide around while it’s still early in the 2015-16 season.

What will Kobe Bryant make this season? Find out here!

And although there were a lot of cheers and smiles following the loss in New York due to Bryant’s potential farewell to ‘The World’s Most Famous Arena,’ the team hasn’t had much to smile about six games into the season. The Lakers have been horrendous on defense giving up 110.7 points per game (28th in the NBA) and have struggled to close games late in the fourth quarter. Lakers head coach Byron Scott has altered rotations on this road trip to balance out the veterans with the young core and is now expecting wins to come out of it. They will be up against a resurged Heat team that is looking to make their presence felt in the Eastern Conference.

Frontcourt:

Miami’s frontcourt is led by 10-time All-Star Chris Bosh who is back this season after a blood clot in one of his lungs forced him to miss the last 30 games of the 2014-15 season. His ability to play inside and out makes it tough on bigs who don’t like guarding outside of fifteen feet. The two-time champion can create his own shot on the low-block and can also spread the floor out and knock down shots from three. With Bosh back this season, he may be enough to give the Heat a shot to reach the Eastern Conference Finals.

Alongside Bosh, he’s paired up with Luol Deng and Hassan Whiteside. Deng’s contribution as a 3-and-D type of player gives Miami a boost on both ends of the floor. Seven games into the season, the 11-year veteran is averaging 9.4 points and four rebounds — sharing minutes with Miami’s 2015 first round pick (No. 10 overall) Justise Winslow. Deng’s vocal leadership continues to pan out well on-and-off the court for Winslow, who has played well to begin his rookie campaign.

As for Whiteside, he’s given the Heat stellar play at the center position after being in the NBA’s Developmental League just last December. Although it’s still early in the season, the seven-footer is currently averaging a double-double with 14.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per game and is easily one of the league’s most improved players. If Whiteside’s play on both ends of the floor can stay consistent along with Bosh’s, Miami’s frontcourt can be one of the best in the Eastern Conference.

Backcourt:

Since being drafted by the team back in 2003, Dwayne Wade has led the Heat’s backcourt and is looking to get the team contending for NBA titles again. Although Wade has battled with injuries over the last few years, he’s still widely viewed as a top-five shooting guard and has the ability that few do as a primary creator for himself and those around him. Besides being knocked for his durability coming into this season at 34 years old, the 12-year veteran is averaging nearly 19 points and over four assists per game on 40 percent shooting from three. His health is always being watched over due to his unorthodox style of playing, but for Miami to go any where this season, he’s going to have to stay on the floor and keep his productivity level high.

One of the sleeper trades made last season prior to the trade deadline ending was the trade that sent point guard Goran Dragic packing from Phoenix to South Beach. Although they fell just short of making the playoffs due to Bosh being out last season, Dragic saw enough to re-sign with the team on a five-year, $86 million deal. Now that he’s found his home for at least the next five seasons, the 29-year-old Slovenian is now the team’s primary ball-handler and facilitator in what Heat President Pat Riley calls a “complete” roster. With the team being the deepest since LeBron James parted ways two seasons ago, Miami is looking to build something great in South Beach once again.

Keys to Victory:

Battle on the Boards: Winning the rebounding battle always puts the team in a better situation to win games. Six games into the season, the Lakers have struggled to rebound the ball as they rank 24th in the NBA with a -6.2 difference in that department. Even in their lone win against Brooklyn on Friday, the team was still out-rebounded (46 to 40) as they’ve been have in every game except in the season-opening loss against Minnesota. Especially on a team like the Laker that don’t play excruciating great defense to begin with, the last thing they want to do is give a team like Miami numerous second chance opportunities on the offensive end.

Spread the Wealth: The one thing the Lakers need to do better is get more assists on their field goals. They are currently 27th in the league averaging only 17.8 assists (as a team) per game while opposing teams are averaging over 25 assists on them. On a team with Kobe Bryant, Lou Williams, Jordan Clarkson and of course, D’Angelo Russell — who’s vision is one of the main reasons why Los Angeles drafted him No. 2 overall — the Lakers should be getting easier shot attempts per basket. However, if you take them, you got to make them. Hopefully the team can capitalize on open threes and transition points to get the offense going against Miami.

Close the Fourth Quarter: The game against the New York Knicks on Sunday was just the latest game where the Lakers have had a chance to win but fell short in the closing minutes when it mattered most. With a 1-5 record coming into Tuesday night’s matchup, the team could easily be 3-3 if they closed better in the games against Minnesota and Denver. However, with a (fairly) young rebuilding core, this is one of the growing pains that the Lakers are going to continue to endure on a team that lacks experience. It’ll be interesting to see if Byron Scott stays persistent on keeping D’Angelo Russell on the bench in the fourth quarter while Lou Williams gets the nod in the closing minutes. On a team that’s rebuilding and struggling, one would only hope Russell gets out there (alongside Randle and Clarkson) to get the experience needed to grow in his rookie campaign.

Los Angeles Lakers (1-5) at Miami Heat (4-3)
4:30 PST, November 10, 2015
American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
TV: TWC SportsNet
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Lakers Projected Starting Lineup
PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Jordan Clarkson
SF: Metta World Peace
PF: Julius Randle
C: Roy Hibbert

Key Reserves: SG: Lou Williams SF: Nick Young PF: Larry Nance Jr. C: Tarik Black

Heat Projected Starting Lineup
PG: Goran Dragic
SG: Dwayne Wade
SF: Luol Deng
PF: Chris Bosh
C: Hassan Whiteside

Key Reserves: PG: Mario Chalmers SG: Gerald Green SF: Justise Winslow C: Chris Andersen

We should get absolutely slaughtered in Miami. Maybe that’s why we’ll pull off a shocking W tonight? 🙂

  • We should get absolutely slaughtered in Miami. Maybe that’s why we’ll pull off a shocking W tonight? 🙂

  • Dwyane Wade not at shootaround. Heat says he’s not feeling well, but still expected to play tonight vs Lakers… I hope he don’t play

  • Dwyane Wade not at shootaround. Heat says he’s not feeling well, but still expected to play tonight vs Lakers… I hope he don’t play

  • Hopefully the first unit will run P&R the whole time with clarkson and russell (usage rate should be 2 highest) alternating turns depending on who gets the rebound. I would also like to see alot more transition but i know this would require us to actually rebound the ball.
    I don’t look for randle to have a great game he has struggled against longer defenders.

  • Hopefully the first unit will run P&R the whole time with clarkson and russell (usage rate should be 2 highest) alternating turns depending on who gets the rebound. I would also like to see alot more transition but i know this would require us to actually rebound the ball.
    I don’t look for randle to have a great game he has struggled against longer defenders.

  • Bosh can’t run with Randle too. But the frontcourt matchup really scares me. Randle can guard Bosh, if Chris is hot he will shot over him all night long

  • Bosh can’t run with Randle too. But the frontcourt matchup really scares me. Randle can guard Bosh, if Chris is hot he will shot over him all night long

  • I would rather him play that way if we get blown out its not as bad its not such a headline.

  • We will not get a blowout with our without Wade. This will be a competitive one. But we will lose

  • I would rather him play that way if we get blown out its not as bad its not such a headline.

  • We will not get a blowout with our without Wade. This will be a competitive one. But we will lose

  • we have to get out and push the ball for randle to cause problems for bosh and i just don’t see that happening much with whiteside rebounding for them.

  • we have to get out and push the ball for randle to cause problems for bosh and i just don’t see that happening much with whiteside rebounding for them.

  • i hope you are right(about a blowout) as long as we are competitive i can stand to watch us loose as long as its not a repeat of Sactown. would much rather see a win

  • i hope you are right(about a blowout) as long as we are competitive i can stand to watch us loose as long as its not a repeat of Sactown. would much rather see a win

  • If we play in the right way that’s a competitive game. Wade can’t run with Clarkson no more. We have to give the ball to D’angelo and Clarkson. Let Kobe play a old man battle with Deng.
    We have to control the boards. Whiteside can’t grab more than 10 rebounds with limited offense ones…

  • If we play in the right way that’s a competitive game. Wade can’t run with Clarkson no more. We have to give the ball to D’angelo and Clarkson. Let Kobe play a old man battle with Deng.
    We have to control the boards. Whiteside can’t grab more than 10 rebounds with limited offense ones…

  • We will win this one!!! Magic Russell will score at least 18 with 8 assists. Go Lakers!!!

  • We will win this one!!! Magic Russell will score at least 18 with 8 assists. Go Lakers!!!

  • He needs a bounce back game shooting percentage wise. He has been terrible offensively besides getting to the free throw line.

  • He needs a bounce back game shooting percentage wise. He has been terrible offensively besides getting to the free throw line.

  • He is shooting bad. But get to the free throw line is a great thing. If Nick Young, when could, be able to shot some FT’s he will be a way more consistent player

  • He is shooting bad. But get to the free throw line is a great thing. If Nick Young, when could, be able to shot some FT’s he will be a way more consistent player

  • Sad thing will be if the leading scorer is Kobe. With 18 points and 30 shots

  • Sad thing will be if the leading scorer is Kobe. With 18 points and 30 shots

  • Very hard to be patient with Russell’s development. When you see how well the other rookies in his class are doing. Yeah Mudiay turns the ball over but he’s aggressive and puts up numbers. Okafor is scoring 19.9 points a game and isn’t as bad on defense as some said prior to the draft. I just wish Russell would play with a little more fire. I dont care if he turns the ball over. But play like you want to be great. Stop trying to make the perfect read all the time and play with some instinct. Push the ball and try to get out on the break. Help get some easy buckets. I swear every time he calls the play and gets the ball up court. By the time he passes the ball off at the top of the key. it’s like 15-13 seconds left on the shot clock.

  • Very hard to be patient with Russell’s development. When you see how well the other rookies in his class are doing. Yeah Mudiay turns the ball over but he’s aggressive and puts up numbers. Okafor is scoring 19.9 points a game and isn’t as bad on defense as some said prior to the draft. I just wish Russell would play with a little more fire. I dont care if he turns the ball over. But play like you want to be great. Stop trying to make the perfect read all the time and play with some instinct. Push the ball and try to get out on the break. Help get some easy buckets. I swear every time he calls the play and gets the ball up court. By the time he passes the ball off at the top of the key. it’s like 15-13 seconds left on the shot clock.

  • Russel is 2 years away to be effective. He has no body to play with the pro’s. When we drafted him we knows he will need time.

  • Russel is 2 years away to be effective. He has no body to play with the pro’s. When we drafted him we knows he will need time.

  • There are 82 games in a season we have played 6 that is 7% of the season. to put that into perspective that would be like judging how good a movie is gonna be in the first 9 minutes. At the end of the year you can do some judging but still it takes a good 3 to 4 years to really say how good a draft is. Steph Curry didn’t look anything like what he is now through his first 6 games (9.1 PPG).

  • There are 82 games in a season we have played 6 that is 7% of the season. to put that into perspective that would be like judging how good a movie is gonna be in the first 9 minutes. At the end of the year you can do some judging but still it takes a good 3 to 4 years to really say how good a draft is. Steph Curry didn’t look anything like what he is now through his first 6 games (9.1 PPG).

  • It’s not Russell, it’s Scott. Don’t forget: on 10/26…two days before opening night, Russell still had to have his role explained to him by the head coach.

    That’s inexcusable. Role should have been defined from the day they drafted him and they should have stuck with it, whether starting or coming off the bench.

  • It’s not Russell, it’s Scott. Don’t forget: on 10/26…two days before opening night, Russell still had to have his role explained to him by the head coach.

    That’s inexcusable. Role should have been defined from the day they drafted him and they should have stuck with it, whether starting or coming off the bench.

  • Let’s just hope that Miami has an offnight and decides to be lazy. That’s about all the Lakers can hope for. As much as I love the Lakers, even I know they’re overmatched at every position. Hibbert might be able to do something about Whiteside one on one, but Dragic is better than Russell, Wade over Clarkson right now, Kobe isn’t playing well enough at this point to be better than Deng right now, Randle as good as he’s playing isn’t Bosh at this stage either. I’m not exactly optimistic in the bench battle either. So much youth on this team and guys who are either offensively gifted and defensively weak or whatever it may be, we’re just overmatched tonight.

  • Let’s just hope that Miami has an offnight and decides to be lazy. That’s about all the Lakers can hope for. As much as I love the Lakers, even I know they’re overmatched at every position. Hibbert might be able to do something about Whiteside one on one, but Dragic is better than Russell, Wade over Clarkson right now, Kobe isn’t playing well enough at this point to be better than Deng right now, Randle as good as he’s playing isn’t Bosh at this stage either. I’m not exactly optimistic in the bench battle either. So much youth on this team and guys who are either offensively gifted and defensively weak or whatever it may be, we’re just overmatched tonight.

  • I get the feeling that Scott is specifically telling him not to rush things. Tho’ he gives Randle free reign to run up the court with the rock whenever the opportunity presents itself so I’m not quite sure why he would do that with Russell.

  • I get the feeling that Scott is specifically telling him not to rush things. Tho’ he gives Randle free reign to run up the court with the rock whenever the opportunity presents itself so I’m not quite sure why he would do that with Russell.

  • Chalmers got traded to the Grizzlies for Udrih, which means that Miami will be shorthanded tonight. Unlikely they get their physicals and make the trips in time to play so Miami’s bench will be shorthanded.

  • Chalmers got traded to the Grizzlies for Udrih, which means that Miami will be shorthanded tonight. Unlikely they get their physicals and make the trips in time to play so Miami’s bench will be shorthanded.

  • Russell has been the weak link in the starting 5 imo. He has to be way more aggressive and be a constant threat. His job is to put pressure on the defense and keep them on their heels and he’s simply not doing it. I don’t care what the offense is, he has got to attack constantly and that will make things easier for the other guys, which is his job. Randle, Clarkson, and Kobe have no choice but to do a lot of 1-on-1 if he’s not putting the defense in jeopardy. Hibbert is good enough to be averaging 12-14pts at least but he gets lost on offense because D’Angelo hasn’t figured out how to involve him more. I don’t believe benching him is the answer but he needs a kick in the rear end and get aggressive man and stop carrying himself like a kid out there.

  • Russell has been the weak link in the starting 5 imo. He has to be way more aggressive and be a constant threat. His job is to put pressure on the defense and keep them on their heels and he’s simply not doing it. I don’t care what the offense is, he has got to attack constantly and that will make things easier for the other guys, which is his job. Randle, Clarkson, and Kobe have no choice but to do a lot of 1-on-1 if he’s not putting the defense in jeopardy. Hibbert is good enough to be averaging 12-14pts at least but he gets lost on offense because D’Angelo hasn’t figured out how to involve him more. I don’t believe benching him is the answer but he needs a kick in the rear end and get aggressive man and stop carrying himself like a kid out there. Mark Jackson would be the perfect coach to develop him.

  • Boom, it is Russell. I know you’re compelled to defend him but he has to be WAY more aggressive and stop with the excuses. You guys who wanted Russell were claiming it’s a pg league so you should be able to clearly see that getting below average pg play is gonna equal a lot of losses. It’s not hard to figure out. Every starting pg in the nba is more aggressive than he’s been so far.

  • Boom, it is Russell. I know you’re compelled to defend him but he has to be WAY more aggressive and stop with the excuses. You guys who wanted Russell were claiming it’s a pg league so you should be able to clearly see that getting below average pg play is gonna equal a lot of losses. It’s not hard to figure out. Every starting pg in the nba is more aggressive than he’s been so far.

  • Don’t see the Lakers winning this game if they can’t shoot consistently. Miami’s 8th in shooting % as opposed to the Lakers being dead last.

  • Don’t see the Lakers winning this game if they can’t shoot consistently. Miami’s 8th in shooting % as opposed to the Lakers being dead last.

  • Tyler Johnson’s play is the reason they traded Chalmers. Made him expendable.

  • Tyler Johnson’s play is the reason they traded Chalmers. Made him expendable.

  • Well I’m looking at his aggressiveness. He doesn’t seem to play with a fire that a star player plays with. I mean you can point too Curry and Harden as slow starters who worked out. But i can counter with the hundreds of players who teams thought would be something started slow and never came around. I dont see the fire in his play.

  • Well I’m looking at his aggressiveness. He doesn’t seem to play with a fire that a star player plays with. I mean you can point too Curry and Harden as slow starters who worked out. But i can counter with the hundreds of players who teams thought would be something started slow and never came around. I dont see the fire in his play.

  • Byron said they didn’t take Kristaps Porzingis because they thought it would take him time development. So I’m not so sure they were thinking the way you say they were about how long it would take Russell. Clearly they thought he would come around sooner than two years. We have yet to see anything from Russell that made the Lakers take him with the second overall pick. I’m not expecting him to be Magic or even Nash after only 7 games. But show us something. Theres D-league guys who showed more in training camp.

  • Byron said they didn’t take Kristaps Porzingis because they thought it would take him time development. So I’m not so sure they were thinking the way you say they were about how long it would take Russell. Clearly they thought he would come around sooner than two years. We have yet to see anything from Russell that made the Lakers take him with the second overall pick. I’m not expecting him to be Magic or even Nash after only 7 games. But show us something. Theres D-league guys who showed more in training camp.

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