In a rematch of last season's NBA Finals, the Miami Heat visit Staples Center to face the LA Lakers tonight. The LA Lakers continue their mission for back-to-back titles and their star player, LeBron James is an early MVP candidate in his 18th season in the league.
Meanwhile, the Miami Heat are looking like a shell of themselves. Several players have missed games this season and they have surrendered leads to inferior opponents. The Heat's road trip isn't going well and they will need to pull out all the stops to beat this LA Lakers team.
Miami Heat vs LA Lakers: Injury Updates
Several players continue to be absent from the Miami Heat lineup. Starting point guard, Goran Dragic has missed the last six games due to a left ankle sprain and didn't join the team on their seven-game road trip either.
Avery Bradley is expected to return before the league's mid-season break in March, while Meyers Leonard has undergone a season-ending procedure on his left shoulder.
Meanwhile, Chris Silva is sidelined as well due to a hip injury, and backup guard Gabe Vincent is questionable for the game as a result of a knee issue.
The LA Lakers are going through a few injury troubles of their own. Star forward Anthony Davis has been sidelined for at least four weeks after his calf injury was diagnosed as an Achilles strain, as stated by coach Frank Vogel. Meanwhile, Dennis Schroder isn't playing this game as well due to COVID-19 protocols.
Kyle Kuzma was added to the list of questionable players along with Kostas Antetokounmpo (kneecap injury) and Markieff Morris (right ankle sprain).
Miami Heat vs LA Lakers: Predicted Lineups
Kendrick Nunn will start as the point guard in place of Goran Dragic and will share the backcourt with Duncan Robinson. Jimmy Butler is finally healthy and will be the starting small forward while Kelly Olynyk retains his position as the power forward. The team's star center is Bam Adebayo.
Tyler Herro and veteran Andre Iguodala are the team's most trusted bench players and Herro often averages more minutes than some of the starters.
This injury-ridden LA Lakers team will have to make major changes to their rotation. Wesley Matthews starts as the point guard along with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in the backcourt. LeBron James will retain his usual position as the small forward, although he plays all roles on the team.
If Kyle Kuzma is listed out, then James is expected to start as the power forward with either Talen Horton-Tucker or Alex Caruso starting as the small forward. Marc Gasol continues his role as the center. Montrezl Harell, Caruso, and Horton-Tucker are the team's most played bench players and they are expected to get increased minutes tonight.
Miami Heat vs LA Lakers: Predicted Starting 5s
G - Kendrick Nunn, G - Duncan Robinson, F - Jimmy Butler, F - Kelly Olynyk, C - Bam Adebayo.
G - Wesley Matthews, G - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, F - Alex Caruso, F - LeBron James, C - Marc Gasol.