Miami Heat vs Los Angeles Lakers Predictions and Odds
The (11-14) Miami Heat
The Miami Heat are currently ranked ninth in the Eastern Conference and are a game behind their state rivals the Orlando Magic. The Heat have struggled considerably this year between injuries, inconsistency, and Dwyane Wade’s production of a farewell tour.
Justice Winslow has been a key contributor in recent games for the Miami Heat. More on him later, but the Miami Heat started off the season uncomfortable without a backup point guard and in all honesty they may have found one in Winslow.
The (16-10) Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are currently sitting at fifth in the Western Conference and are a game and a half behind first place, currently occupied by the Golden State Warriors. The Lakers started off with a whimper, but have been absolutely buzzing recently as the Lakers young players and LeBron James begin to gel.
The Lakers are playing at the leagues fifth fastest pace; despite the lack of talent it’s not particularly surprising for a LeBron James-led squad. What’s more interesting is that they now rank 14th in offensive rating and 10th in defensive rating. While Javale McGee is a solid defensive center, the inclusion of Tyson Chandler has spurred their defence if not stifling their offence at times.
What’s at Stake?
In 61 all-time games between the Lakers and the Heat, the Lakers lead the all-time series 34-27 in the regular season.
Should the Lakers win they would be half a game out of first place in the Western Conference.
Should the Heat win, they would be tied for eighth with their state counterparts the Orlando Magic.
It should also be noted that this will likely be the last career match against LeBron James for Dwyane Wade. Against James, Wade is an even 15-15. Don’t be surprised if the fireworks go off as each NBA legend looks to get the last upper hand over the other.
Questions to Answer
Can Miami score enough to beat LA?
Where did Showtime’s defence come from?
We’re going to compare the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers in an attempt to answer these questions.
The Heat are 26th in Offensive Rating
The Heat are not a team that fills you with dread as a defender. They are a team with nice complementary pieces, but they lack the playmaking and individual talent to make you pay when they attack.
Josh Richardson is still scoring well, but has cooled off since his hot start to the season. Next in the scoring averages column are Wade and Dragic who have appeared in 18 and 13 matches respectively. Meanwhile, expressive center Hassan Whitside is averaging 13.5 PPG. The Heat are not rife with options and they hope that they might find a shooting rhythm early against the Lakers.
The Lakers Efficiency has Flipped
During the first ten games of the season, the Lakers ranked 11th in Offensive Efficiency and 23rd in Defensive Efficiency. Since then, the Los Angeles Lakers are ranked 23rd in the NBA in offensive efficiency and 4th in defensive efficiency. Such a stark change is uncommon in team play but there are many indicators as to why it happened.
The Lakers have actually begun to play much slower, specifically about five full possessions slower than during the beginning of the season. As the season went on James may have realized he is being too demanding of his young team and decreased the pace of the game for his teammates who are not the high IQ/experience players of James Teams past. The addition of Chandler, while impacting their defence positively, actually helps in the slowing of the game as he’s not the fast-break option he once was.
Miami Heat Roster Notes
G Goran Dragic is not on the injury report after a knee injury sidelined him and is expected to play.
G/F Josh Richardson is questionable for Monday with a shoulder injury.
G Tyler Johnson is listed as questionable for the match against the Lakers due to his hip injury.
C Hassan Whiteside is listed out Monday due to personal reason.
G Wayne Ellington is sidelined for personal reasons but is a game-time decision.
G Dion Waiters is sidelined with an ankle injury and is out indefinitely.
Los Angeles Lakers Roster Notes
G-F Brandon Ingram is day-to-day with an ankle injury and will be reevaluated in a week.
G Rajon Rondo is still dealing with his hand fracture and is out indefinitely until it is healed properly.
Justise Winslow May Just Have Found Himself at Point Guard
Justise Winslow started at point guard for the Heat against the Clippers and it was an absolutely surprising experience. Defeating the Clippers 121-98, the Heat were bolstered by the play of Winslow at point guard.
Winslow posted a line of 21 points, 9 assists, and only 1 turnover in the match against the Clippers. Always an intelligent player, Winslow took advantage of his size and vision to dominate the smaller Clipper guards. While not a prime playmaker, Winslow knows how to make the smart initial pass that will generally lead to a good look or successful second pass.
Head-to-Head: LeBron James vs Dwyane Wade
In his farewell tour season, Dwyane Wade will face off against his rival and close friend LeBron James for the last time. Despite only playing 18 games so far this season, Wade is posting respectable numbers (15 PPG on 43% from the field and 38% from deep). He’ll surely be motivated to fill up the scoreboard against dear friend LeBron James.
LeBron, three years Wade’s junior, is having a classic LeBron James season. Posting season averages of 28.3 PPG, 6.9 APG, and 7.7 RPG, James has not missed a step. He’s also not been held out significantly due to injury.
As sentimental as this matchup will be, players will be performing their best. For Wade there’s no young Laker guard that can defend him. Meanwhile, LeBron James attracts so much attention that he often makes the right pass to the open man. Look for each of these legends to be the playmaker as well as put up scoring numbers in their last matchup.
Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers Predictions and Odds
The odds makers have the Los Angeles Lakers favoured over the Miami Heat by 5, with an over/under of 110.