Los Angeles Lakers at Miami Heat Preview
The Los Angeles Lakers are currently tied with the Milwaukee Bucks for the best record in the NBA with a 22-3 record. Tonight, the Lakers will lay that record on the line as they travel to South Beach to battle with the Miami Heat in a nationally televised interconference matchup.
The Heat are currently 18-6 and second in the Eastern Conference. They enter tonight’s game on a three-game winning streak and with a 7-3 record in their last 10 games. They have been a perfect 11-0 at home in Miami this season, so they have a lot on the line tonight as well. The Lakers are first in the Western Conference. They are on a five-game winning streak and are 9-1 in their last 10 games. They’ve been solid on the road too, with a 12-1 record away from Staples Center.
In their first matchup this season, on November 8 in Los Angeles, the Lakers won 95-80 behind 26 points and seven assists from Anthony Davis. Jimmy Butler scored 22 points that night, but since then, the Heat are looking like a much-improved team.
Time: 7 PM ET
Arena: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
Lakers: Avery Bradley, Anthony Davis (P), Rajon Rondo, Kyle Kuzma (Q), DeMarcus Cousins (O)
Heat: Tyler Herro (Q), Justise Winslow, Goran Dragic (O)
Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
The Los Angeles Lakers are already in Florida after a 96-87 win over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night. They picked up their 22nd win of the season. They got off to a hot start and limited Orlando to just nine first-quarter points, which put the Magic in a hole to start with.
LeBron James had a triple-double with 25 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists, and his ability to focus on ball distribution has really helped not only get newer players comfortable within the offense, but it also allows him to control the flow and pace of the game.
“He is the best in the world for a reason,” guard Alex Caruso said. “Him getting to the paint draws so many bodies that we are open on the backside.”
James is no stranger to AmericanAirlines Arena, where he spent several seasons along with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and made several NBA Finals appearances and won the title in 2012 and 2013.
In the win over the Magic, Anthony Davis chipped in with 16 points and 12 rebounds, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 15, and Danny Green and JaVale McGee had eight points apiece.
Miami Heat Starting Lineup
The Miami Heat have won six of their last seven games. On Tuesday night, in a Southeast Division matchup, they needed overtime to get past the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks rallied in the second and third quarters and kept things close in the fourth. But in overtime, it was all Miami as they scored 18 points in the extra period, while the Hawks were limited to just four.
The Miami Heat were not favored by many NBA pundits before the season to compete for a top spot in the East, but here they are, 24 games in trailing just the red-hot Milwaukee Bucks.
“I don’t think anybody thought we were going to be relevant this year,” Bam Adebayo said, “but we’re making people watch us.”
Adebayo was one of two Heat players to get a triple-double against the Hawks, and one of three players to reach the 30-point mark. Adebayo had 30 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists. Jimmy Butler had 20 points, a jaw-dropping 18 rebounds, and 10 assists. Rookie Kendrick Nunn finished with 36 points, and Duncan Robinson notched 34.
With rookie sharpshooter Tyler Herro becoming ill and being limited on the court, the other main Heat players stepped up to give the Heat the edge they needed.
Key Player Matchups
Anthony Davis vs. Bam Adebayo
Anthony Davis is an MVP candidate, but he hasn’t looked as solid the past few weeks, whereas Adebayo is a physical big man who is coming off a triple-double. This should be a fun one to watch. Davis is the superior player, but talent alone doesn’t always win especially in a matchup with a hard-nosed vet like Adebayo.
LeBron James vs. Jimmy Butler
While they won’t be starting opposite each other tonight, I cant see Heat coach Erik Spoelstra not giving Butler the LeBron matchup. These are the types of matchups Butler craves, and I’m sure he was having one of his famous 3:00 a.m. gym sessions getting ready for it. This has the potential to be the best matchup among all the games tonight.
Anthony Davis and Jimmy Butler are my stud picks for tonight. Davis, even when he doesn’t score a ton of points, beings fantasy value across his game and in multiple categories. He is available on FanDuel for 10.1k with a projection of 50.3 points. Butler is available for $9.5k and is projected for 45.2 points.
If Herro plays tonight, look to him as a value pickup. With a salary of just $4.9k, he’s expected to net 22.4 fantasy points and can boost your perimeter shooting numbers.
Bet on Matchup
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