The Lakers are coming into this game with two wins in their last three games. They have won six of their last ten as they look forward to the return of Anthony Davis in this matchup.
The Lakers are seventh in the Western Conference standings with a 23-23 record as they continue to hover around the 0.500 mark. They are 8-11 on the road, but with LeBron James' current form, LA will be optimistic about their chances against Miami.
Meanwhile, the Miami Heat will look to continue the fine campaign they are having. They are less than a game behind Eastern Conference leaders Brooklyn Nets as they look to repeat the heroics of two seasons ago and reach the NBA Finals again. However, they have to be careful not to slip up, as they are only three games ahead of seventh seeds Charlotte Hornets.
This could be a tricky matchup for the Heat, as the LA Lakers have had some big performances this season when they were least expected to this campaign.
Fixture: LA Lakers vs Miami Heat | NBA Season 2021-22.
Date & Time: Sunday, January 23rd; 6 PM ET (Monday, January 24th; 4:30 AM).
Venue: FTX Arena, Miami, Florida.
LA Lakers Preview
Anthony Davis is set to return to action for the Lakers in this matchup. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook seemingly has his turnovers under control, so the Lakers could potentially walk away with a win from this trip. They have been forced to rely on role and fringe players to step up and deliver, which is what a lot of them have done recently.
The Lakers have lost four of their last six games, with their wins coming against the Utah Jazz and the Orlando Magic. As a team with championship aspirations, Los Angeles are yet to rack up wins and gain momentum. Head coach Frank Vogel seemingly finds his job on the line. That's because he has struggled to find the right balance between offense and defense with his starting lineup, which features LeBron James as the center.
They are currently languishing in 23rd spot in offensive rating and in 15th in defensive rating. So the Lakers know they have a lot of work to do if they intend to go deep into the postseason.
Key Player - LeBron James
Davis has missed almost a month of action and Westbrook has struggled to get on the same wavelength as his teammates. So the onus is well and truly on LeBron James' shoulders. Unsurprisingly, James has done nothing but deliver for his team.
James is averaging 28.9 points, 6.4 assists and 7.6 rebounds this season. He has shot the ball better than 36% from beyond the arc and nearly 52% from the field. Playing nearly 37 minutes a night, James has recorded three triple doubles this season and 12 double doubles.
He is quietly making a case for the MVP award, and will be a contender if his team's record improves in the coming months.
LA Lakers Predicted Lineup
G - Russell Westbrook; G - Avery Bradley; F - LeBron James; F - Trevor Ariza; C - Dwight Howard
Miami Heat Preview
The Miami Heat have assembled a roster with championship aspirations after their disappointing Eastern Conference first-round loss against the Milwaukee Bucks last season. They currently find themselves as the third seed in the East and less than a game behind leaders Brooklyn Nets.
Miami have won six of their last eight games, and hope to get back to winning ways against the Lakers. The return of Bam Adebayo is crucial, as the Heat have been playing essentially without a recognized center all this while. However, they have done incredibly well in this period. The likes of Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson have stepped up and delivered in the veteran's absence.
With championship aspirations, the Heat are one of the favorites to go deep in the Eastern Conference. Coach Spoelstra's men are hoping for another shot at the NBA title, like they did in the 2020 NBA Finals.
Key Player - Jimmy Butler
Arguably the Heat's best player, Jimmy Butler has missed a lot of games this season for the franchise due to COVID-19 protocols or injuries. Nevertheless, Butler is still averaging 21.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists while shooting the ball better than 48% from the field and a paltry 24% from beyond the arc.
Butler has notched up two triple doubles and seven double doubles for Miami this season as he hopes to lead the team back to the NBA Finals. After signing a four-year $184 million extension with the team in the summer of 2021, Butler will hope to lead the team back to the promised land. The last time Miami won the championship was in 2013 when LeBron James was at the helm.
Miami Heat Predicted Lineup
G - Gabe Vincent; G - Duncan Robinson; F - Jimmy Butler; F - PJ Tucker; C - Bam Adebayo.
Lakers vs Heat Match Prediction
This is a matchup between one of the best teams in the NBA and one of the most underachieving ones. With superstars on display, the game could go down to the wire. The Heat are the favorites, considering the chemistry between their players and ability to hurt teams from the perimeter.
Where to watch Lakers vs Heat?
You can catch the game's action on NBA League Pass. The game will also be broadcast locally on BSSUN and SPECSN.
Q. Who will win this game?
Los Angeles Lakers
21 votes so far