The Los Angeles Lakers look to complete their sweep through the state of Florida as they take on the always tough Miami Heat on Wednesday night. The Lakers are coming off the second night of a back-to-back following an impressive win in Orlando with LeBron James and Russell Westbrook leading a full team effort.
Of course, James has been at another level ever since Anthony Davis went down due to injury. Even though his streak of 30-point games was snapped on Tuesday, the Lakers superstar is still averaging 31.7 points, 6.9 assists and 6.1 rebounds over the last nine games while shooting over 55 percent from the field.
Westbrook is coming off his third triple-double of the season, tying Detlef Schrempf for the most triple-doubles off the bench in NBA history. His energy, pace and rebounding have been even more crucial for the Lakers as of late. And the same can be said for Thomas Bryant, who is coming off a double-double against the Magic and has stepped up admirably in the absence of Davis.
What this game could ultimately come down to is which team is able to enforce their style of play on the game. The Lakers like to get out on the break and are one of the highest-paced teams in the league while the Heat are the exact opposite, preferring to slow things down.
Miami is not a great offensive team but is strong defensively and doesn’t turn the ball over a lot, which could make it difficult for the Lakers to get out in transition. Miami is also one of the best teams at defending the paint, which is where the Lakers have operated best so that will be another strength vs. strength matchup to keep an eye on.
The Heat are dealing with their own injury questions as both Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo were questionable for the contest although they are playing.
Miami also has Tyler Herro, who remains one of the most explosive scorers in this league capable of getting hot from anywhere on the court while Kyle Lowry is still a seasoned veteran who is unafraid in any situation.
Los Angeles Lakers (14-20) vs. Miami Heat (17-17)
4:30 p.m. PT, December 28, 2022
FTX Center, Miami, Florida
TV: Spectrum SportsNet, NBA TV
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Dennis Schroder
SG: Patrick Beverley
SF: Lonnie Walker IV
PF: LeBron James
C: Thomas Bryant
Key Reserves: Russell Westbrook, Austin Reaves, Troy Brown Jr., Wenyen Gabriel, Max Christie
Projected Heat Starting Lineup:
PG: Kyle Lowry
SG: Tyler Herro
SF: Jimmy Butler
PF: Caleb Martin
C: Bam Adebayo
Key Reserves: Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, Haywood Highsmith, Nikola Jovic, Orlando Robinson
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