The Lakers are back at work tonight at the Staples Center to host the Miami Heat and improve their home record to 20-2. The Heat beat the Lakers at home in their first meeting on December 19, 2008 by the score of 89-87, when Kobe’s jumper at the buzzer rimmed out.
It was yet another game that the Lakers should’ve won but didn’t play well enough defensively down the stretch; this is also the second home game in a row that the Lakers need to win to avoid a season sweep by an Eastern Conference team.
Miami is 19-16 overall and 7-10 on the road after beating the Kings in Sacramento 119-115 in overtime. James Jones an excellent shooter is back from injury for the Heat.
Kobe Bryant gets the opportunity to play against another one of his USA Basketball teammates in Dwayne Wade. Ironically you’ve got D.Wade, the league’s leading scorer on one side and Kobe Bryant, the reigning MVP, averaging 27.7 points per game and 6.7 assists on the other side. Kobe could easily be the league’s leading scorer if that was necessary for this team to win games, fortunately for the Lakers it’s not.
The reigning MVP has been highly efficient. He has made 53.1% of his shots from the field (138-260) over his last 12 games. According to Elias Sports Bureau, it is his second-best 12-game span in terms of field goal percentage in his career within one season.
Since the loss in Miami, the Lakers have won 8 of 10 games and Kobe is averaging 32.3 points, 5.5 boards and 5.1 assists during that stretch. Despite the number of points scored by the Pacers in the last game, Andrew Bynum & Pau Gasol combined for 41 points.
The Lakers need to throw the ball into the low post and allow Andrew Bynum & Pau Gasol to go to work. The Lakers need to recall the “four pound beat” the coaching staff drills into them, use excellent ball movement, player movement and proper spacing while outworking the Heat. Miami’s last victory in Los Angeles was 104-102 in overtime on Christmas Day 2004.
The Lakers will win by controlling the tempo, glass, stopping dribble penetration and rotating out to three point shooters.
Tipoff: 6:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: Fox Sports West 1 HD (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Miami: Sun Sports HD (Eric Reid, Tony Fiorentino & Jason Jackson)
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Miami: WIOD-610 AM ( Mike Inglis, Tony Fiorentino & John Crotty)
- Jordan Farmar (Knee)
- Lamar Odom (Knee)
- Luke Walton (Foot)
None to report.