Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers Preview
Tonight in a National TV game on NBA TV, one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference will take on the top team in the West. Surprisingly, that team in the East is the Miami Heat, who will be on the road against LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The host Lakers are 6-1 and are on a six-game winning streak and have yet to drop a game at Staples Center. The Heat are number two in the East at 6-2 and they’ll look to start a winning streak tonight in LA. They have not been great on the road with a 3-2 record away from Miami. Last season, Los Angeles swept the season series, 2-0
Time: 10:30 PM ET
Arena: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Channel: NBA TV
Heat: Justise Winslow, Derrick Jones, Dion Waiters, Udonis Haslem (DTD)
Lakers: Rajon Rondo, Talen Horton-Tucker, DeMarcus Cousins (O)
Miami Heat Starting Lineup
The young Miami Heat have been one of the surprises of the NBA season so far. Miami has been able to get some significant wins as they continue to climb the Eastern Conference rankings. On Sunday, if NBA fans weren’t aware of them yet, they became aware as the Heat thrashed the Houston Rockets 129-100.
Last night, they faced another one of the surprise teams in the Phoenix Suns and handled them to the tune of a 124-108 win. It was just the win the Heat needed after suffering their own blowout loss on their Western Conference road trip to the Denver Nuggets.
“It’s a lot easier to do when you get your tail kicked like we did,” Heat swingman Butler said of rebounding from Tuesday.
Butler seemed a lot more aggressive than he has most of the season, getting off to a quick start and scoring 18 first-quarter points. Butler hasn’t forced the offense much with the infusion of young talent on Miami’s roster.
Rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro have been fantastic. They also got a big boost in the win over the Suns from Goran Dragic, who finished with 25 points, just second in scoring behind Butler’s 34.
Miami will need more of the same tonight against the top team in the West in the Lakers. It’ll be a tough task on the second night of a back-to-back, and head coach Erik Spoelstra is likely hoping for the return of Justise Winslow to help on defense.
Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
The Los Angeles Lakers have not experienced a loss since opening night against the Los Angeles Clippers. Ever since then, they have seemed to come together as they continue to build chemistry and collect wins.
On Tuesday night, they picked up their sixth win 118-112 over the Chicago Bulls. On a night where Anthony Davis wasn’t his usual dominant self, LeBron James took over and finished with his third consecutive triple-double with 30 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds.
Quinn Cook and Kyle Kuzma were big off the bench with 17 points and 15 points apiece. Davis, who is the Lakers’ leading scorer, had 15 points and seven rebounds.
The Bulls got off to a quick start, scoring 65 first-half points to Los Angeles’ 48. But the Lakers applied pressure defensively in the second half and got their offense going, especially in the fourth quarter, where the Lakers outscored the Bulls 38 to 19.
Key Player Matchups
LeBron James vs. Jimmy Butler
This has got to be a matchup of the night. James will be looking for a fourth consecutive triple-double, and Butler, one of the league’s top defenders, will be there to try to stop them. Butler can also get it done on the offensive end, as he did against the Suns last night, but we’ll have to see if tired legs hold up. If Justise Winslow is available, look for head coach Erik Spoelstra to use a mix of both Butler and Winslow defensively on James.
Anthony Davis vs. Meyers Leonard
Leonard has been getting the start lately and he’ll have a huge talent tonight in Anthony Davis. Davis struggled a bit in his last game, but with two days of rest and being back at home, you can bet Davis will be looking forward to taking advantage of this matchup. Leonard has been serviceable though when he gets minutes. Against the Houston Rockets with 28 minutes of playing time, Leonard scored 21 points and had three steals.
With the types of stat lines he’s put up lately, the Lakers’ stud pick for tonight is LeBron James. He is available on FanDuel for $10.6k and has a projection of 53.24 points, which is lower than his fantasy average this season of 55.3 points. At $7.4k, Butler is both the stud pick and fantasy play for the Heat tonight. He is projected to finish with 32.82 points.
Although Kyle Kuzma’s points per $1k rating is not great due to his current role off the bench, it’s worth the risk at $4.6k to give him a run. He has a projection of just 16.7 points, but I expect him to easily top that. Other values on the Heat are rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro, who are both under $5.5k.
Bet on Matchup
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