TLN’s Pregame Report: Lakers vs. Heat

Getty Images | Photo By Marc Serota

Merry Christmas, Lakers Nation!

Once again, it’s on! Another Christmas Day game in Downtown Los Angeles. The (21-8) Los Angeles Lakers are at Staples Center to host the (21-9) Miami Heat. This is the most anticipated game of the year, to some, in the NBA.

The Lakers aren’t caught up in the hype; it’s a big game for them because it’s the ‘next’ game, an opportunity to bounce back from a disappointing loss. This is a great time to face one of the association’s hottest teams.

For the Lakers it’s all about playing solid defense, energy and execution on offense. However, everything I’ve read tells me that this is an early match-up of playoff teams. The Socratic irony is that neither has performed well against elite teams.

The Heat are (5-7) against opponents above .500. Coincidentally, the Lakers are (2-3) against opponents above .500 and winners of eight of their last ten games. Despite that fact, there are some Laker fans who have already chalked this game up as a loss. It is well documented that Kobe and the Lakers are 5-6 in Christmas Day Extravaganzas.

There is a lot a hype and story-lines surrounding this game. The fact of the matter is, that upon completion of this game neither team will be crowned the NBA Champion.

After a successful seven-game road trip, the Lakers returned home for the holidays and their high-profile duel against the latest team, the media, has deemed a rival for the Lakers.

Make no mistake, Lakers vs. Heat isn’t a rivalry. I’ll buy an argument stating that this was an important game the moment the schedule was released; it is a game that can be used as a measuring stick for both teams, but a rivalry — no.

The Lakers are fresh off of a 19-point loss to a short-handed Bucks team. Tuesday’s debacle was the worst loss since game six of the 2008 NBA Finals against the Celtics.  This should provide them a much-needed renewed focus.

Offensively, they need to start the offense from the inside and establish Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in the post.

The Miami Heat are a solid defensive team allowing the fewest points in the association. However, they give up a decent amount of size and skill to Gasol, Bynum and Lamar Odom. I also want to see Kobe take Dwyane Wade in the post. The Heat will crowd the painted area; the Lakers front line needs to play big and establish their dominance.

The Lakers could increase the tempo, but not necessarily get out on the break. It appears that the Heat want to play in half-court sets and react. If the Lakers on occasion increase the tempo the team could garner more possessions and force the Heat to adjust. Besides if necessary, the Lakers can be successful executing a half-court offense. They have to avoid having another slow start in the second half.

The Lakers need to execute their offense, using proper spacing, excellent ball movement and excellent player movement to find high percentage shots attacking the basket.

Defensively, they have to do a solid job of defending the screen and roll play, get back in transition, stop the ball, close down the painted area, and rotate out to open shooters and rebound. Kobe and Ron Artest will have to box out and help clear the boards.

The Miami Heat employs two of the leagues best penetrators on the wing in Wade and James; both excel at attacking the basket. The Lakers need to pack the paint and induce them into shooting the mid-range jumper.

Don’t be surprised to see the Lakers break out a zone to help contain the Heat on the perimeter. The x-factor for the Heat could be sharpshooter Mike Miller. The way to avoid any problems is to challenge every shot and not leave anyone to take an uncontested shot. Limit the Heat to one shot per possession.

The Lakers reserves need to make an impact on this game. The Killer ‘B’s’ scored 57 points and grabbed 24 boards in Toronto and today would be a great day for a repeat performance. The additions have benefited the Purple and Gold mightily this season and today will be no different. They will be motivated and ready for this game.

Starters
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, L. Odom and P. Gasol
Heat:
C. Arroyo, D. Wade, L. James, C. Bosh, Z. Ilgauskas

Tip-off: 2:00 PM PST

Television -

  • Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
  • Miami: Sun Sports (Eric Reid & Toni Fiorentino)

Radio -

  • Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • Miami: 940 AM WINZ (Mike Inglis & John Crotty)

Injuries -

Lakers:

  • Theo Ratliff ( Left Knee) Out
  • Andrew Bynum (Right Knee soreness) Probable
  • Kobe Bryant (Sprained Pinkie Finger, Right Hand) will play

Heat:

  • Dwayne Wade (Left Knee Soreness) will play
Jeff Little is the pre-game writer for LakerNation.com. Follow him on Twitter.
  • Mast

    could we not find a better picture than kobe bryant show his back for the camer?

    anyways I’m pumped up for the game let’s go lakers!!!

  • Lakers_The_Truth

    Not sure what I want.

    Lakers lost two xmas games = 2 rings
    Lakers won 2008 xmas game = no ring.

    Well, maybe losing today is not such a bad thing after all. LOL

    • lakerfan

      no they won the 2008 xmas game and then went on to win the ring…remember? 92-83 against the Celdicks!

      • Lakers_The_Truth

        they did not win in 2008 a ring. They lost to the suckdicks 4-2

        • Pillzmayn

          They win the 08 game christmas against the Celdicks and it was the 08-09 season that Lakers won the title against Orlando

          • lakerfan

            nah you jst got confused…we lost the ’08 finals in june, but the ’08 xmas game was in december, and we next won the championship in ’09 against the magic.

            its alright, cuz we won :D

  • Mast

    I honestly don’t like it when lakers win a christmas game. lately it’s been translating into finals loss if we win on christmas day. Im NOT going to be upset if lakers loose this one. Just build up the vengence and strike back when it really counts. I don’t want lakers to win this one turn into over confident lakers.

    • imfasterthanur

      No true correlation, just pure coincidence.

  • sasha4lvp

    Number of championship rings on current roster: Lakers vs Heat:

    Lakers: 31 (included PJ’s rings as player and coach)

    Heat: 2 (Wade and House)

    LOL!

  • http://www.jackyang.info Jack

    Gasol gotta wake up! Kobe and Pau gotta shoot better today for us to win today!!!

  • trippleoccho

    Unbelievable. At least championships ain’t won in December.

  • http://www.heat.com staplesisquiet

    The Lakers’ reign in……OVER. Buh-bye.

    • SHOWTIME4EVA

      your big mouth in December tells me you don’t much about winning championships..Buh-bye,, fuck that!! We aren’t going anywhere.remember me and my words in June.

  • http://www.heat.com staplesisquiet

    If you’re lucky enough to get by the Spurs, we or the Celts will eliminate you.

    • lakers3peat

      Yeah, I remember how last year we got beat by the Cavs on Christmas and then failed to get a ring…oh wait.

    • http://deleted Short Dog Loc

      You are funny. Get off that titty already.

      • http://deleted Short Dog Loc

        Staples will be sold out punk.
        You must like our nuts
        little biiitch.
        Lakers #1 Always have been always will be.
        Sorry biiitch.

  • Laland

    Damn we Need Melo Now we cant score are
    bench suck big …..Trade LO for Melo….We need hime
    we cant win a ring this year…we got out bully by the
    heat thats fuck up !!!!!!>.

  • Laland

    Get Melo Now !!!!!! LAkers looking like 2008 wen we lose to celtics damn it yo….

  • .i.HEAT

    Please!!!! Trade Artest+Bynum for Melo+Nene… LA NEEDS “MELO” TO MATCH UP AGAINST “LeChicken”. LA’s NEW BIG 3′s: Kobe-Melo-Gasol vs. Heats: Wade-James-Bosh. P

  • lakers0828

    Lets just Face the Facts guys Heat Tend to Have are number on Christmas day Simple as that I think we have beaten them 1 out of all the meetings we have had
    besides Lakers never show up on christmas unless its the
    Celtics of Course

  • Kings of the West

    please melo, Come to L.A! We need your uber scoring skills

  • GetMelo

    Damn it ! We really need melo and nene cause it looks like lakers are going down the hill. Pau is soft as always, artest can’t guard lebrick, kobe has an injured finger, fisher is getting old, and odom is playing well once and the next day he sucks. As for the bench shannon can’t knock down wide open shots, same for blake and barnes. Bynum well he is still recovering from the injury. What this means is that the lakers need a roster change this season. Yes they won with this same group 2 years in a row, but this year its different. Many teams have gotten better, and so that means lakers need to improve or else no 3peat.

    • LakerMarc

      GetMelo…….you’re an idiot….get a life what you say makes no sense…..with the Lakers its the same issues as always tired of commenting on this… they may have to go down in flames on their own for them to get it.

  • Nate Mcmillian

    Wow where do I begin with this pathetic excuse of a team? First lets focus on our leader Kobe Bryant. Apparently Bryant thinks Wade is some sort of deity king or royal being because everytime he plays him he worships him. I am about ready to go to LA and tell Kobe I can bring him some knee pads for whenever he plays Wade. Bryant lacked the killer instinct that Wade, Lebron and Bosh all had tonight. How about our supposed lock down defender Artest cheating off Lebron James, I can understand making him shoot outside but cheating off him is just insane. Lets see here Artest is a math major so Artest lets use some logic here Lebron can make shots with a hand in his face, therefore I guess in Artest’s mind leaving him open will result in a miss. Newsflash that does not work against James. Ron Adobe Artest can not take anybody to save his life. Pau Gasol 2008>Pau Gasol 2010 he is even softer now than he was in 2008. Bynum committing stupid fouls. Phil might want to tell Fisher and Blake than in order to score the ball must go into the hoop hitting the floor with the ball does not equal a basket. Lamar Odom is the only player who showed up tonight. Only way a 3peat will happen for this sorry team is if Duncan, Ginobili Parker, Garnett, Pierce, Allen, Rondo, James, Bosh, and Wade all have season ending injuires and even then I still doubt we would win the title.

    • odomtheplayer

      First of all Nate Mcmillian amen to everything you said. Kobe worships Wade, did you notice that when Wade knocks down Kobe he just walks away. If it was Kobe who knocked down Wade he would say how sorry he is and help him up.

  • Nate Mcmillian

    Odomtheplayer I am glad I am not the only one who thinks this. I predict a Spurs vs Celtics matchup in the finals. Back to back blowout losses at home to add insult to injury. Now we go to San Antonio look for yet another blowout game. Lebron is no question the best player in the league right now infact I rank Wade above Kobe at this point especially with the lackluster performance of tonight. Basketball is just not what it use to be in the 80′s and 90′s nobody kissed up to anybody. Jordan may have had friends but he did not ever worship any player like Bryant does Wade.

  • who?

    shhh! relax my dear friends..first of all we will not meet them comes june because miami will be eliminated…Second, when will we learn lakersnation that games like these dont count so lets relax and back off! dont give too much sh*t to this one! Guys here who acts like its the end of the world, kobe worships someone, and trade this and that, are bunch of sissies and chicken little afraid that the world will end…LAKERSNATION we BeLIEVE! LAKERS THREEPEAT! take that to the bank…

    • LakerMarc

      except in the previous 2 years the Lakers were in the top spot in their conference and had tons of other teams which feared them….now lakers losing to EVERYONE..even those who have no business beating them…….scary!

  • odomtheplayer

    in addition to worshiping Wade he is also intimidated of Wade. He never tries to get him in foul trouble or fake him out at all. Ever since the days of Shaq in Miami Kobe has always kissed Wade’s behind. I just think its time for a shakeup in the lineup I think they should start barnes over Artest. Maybe the shakeup might change things. I am kind of surprised at Steve Blake I though he would knock down open shots but maybe he still needs time.

    • WADE IS A SIDEKICK

      Naah! kobe aint worshippin no one..he has 5 rings..wade only one..logic will tell us that we look to someone who has more than those who has less or worst nothing.

      • odomtheplayer

        Kobe does not play hard against wade I don’t care what you say. Every time he plays wade he helps him up, he keeps patting him on the butt, he has even apologized to wade. Now wade doesn’t do that for him, instead he has had harsh words for Kobe.

        • LakerMarc

          well isnt that his problem… why are you taking that on as your problem..

          • odomtheplayer

            Why then are you taking me on as your problem . I wasn’t talking to you> mind your own business!

  • si pepe

    shhh! relax my dear friends..first of all we will not meet them comes june because miami will be eliminated…Second, when will we learn lakersnation that games like these dont count so lets relax and back off! dont give too much sh*t to this one! Guys here who acts like its the end of the world, kobe worships someone, and trade this and that, are bunch of sissies and chicken little afraid that the world will end…LAKERSNATION we BeLIEVE! LAKERS THREEPEAT! take that to the bank…

  • Jonathan

    Why is everyone sooo shocked. I knew the lakers were going to loose before the game started. Kobe hasnt been playing mvp type basketball. Kobe all ways plays horrible on christmas. He over shoots and digs his percentage into the whole. Side note Kobe never has good games against LBJ or wade. Look it up. The result is not suprising. Lakers defense is not up for the challenge. We arent as deep as people think and if we played the spurs or heat we would loose right now and the celtics would sweep or 4-1 us. Wake me up when the lakers start to play championship caliber defense and kobe starts dominating instead of always falling short against lbj and wade

  • 123kid

    I dont get this team sometimes. We should be stuck in 1st place by beating all these sub .500 teams. We havent even played any top title contenders, until today. We havent played SA, Dallas, Boston, or Orlando, and I am just like amazed by the no heart. Yeah I know its not the playoffs, its still early in the season, but the motivation to win should be there. We get down played by analysis that the title contenders are on winning streaks and they are gellin together and all that. And all those things should be enough motivation to shut people up. I would of accepted a good battle, but we absolutely just woke up on the wrong side of the bed and showed up just to be there. And I guess we shouldnt show all our weapons, especially to the Heat, but come next week when we play NO and SA, the motivation and determination to cut throat those teams should come.

  • Laker8n4te24

    It was just said on national tv during nuggets thunder game that lakers offered Bynum and Ron Ron for melo and birdman

  • idea

    242Lakerfan was wrong folks.

  • yeah yeah

    I don’t want to come off as a whiny fan but is anyone opposed to the idea of improving on our pg spot? I feel like Steve Blake was a bad pick up.

  • andy

    the people tripping over this loss are hilarious. the lakers came into this game with a losing record on xmas day and the 3 stooges will obviously feel like they have something to prove.

    • andy

      why would you think they’d win?

  • LakerMarc

    I dont care really, that the Lakers lost……they lost last year and I was totally crushed…. this year I decided not to invest so much emotionally……. but it still feels gut wrenching to watch this nonsense unfold. The Lakers have an identity crisis right now….the players they lost or unloaded were NOT major players in the least and the ones they picked up, collectively, are far better than what they lost………….ultimately Lakers are better, why do they look so bad on TV? They aren’t playing like they want to be out there. They’ll switch that around..its that damned flipping the switch shit again!