In a rematch of last season's NBA Finals, the Miami Heat visit Staples Center to take on the LA Lakers on Saturday. The LA Lakers are in red-hot form right now. LeBron James is an early MVP candidate in his 18th season with his team holding the 2nd-best record in the league.
Meanwhile, the Miami Heat aren't the team they were last year. The team has struggled to win and many players have missed games due to injuries or COVID-19 protocols.
Fixture: Miami Heat vs LA Lakers | NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Saturday, February 20th, 8:30 PM ET (Sunday, February 21st, 7:00 AM IST).
Venue: STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
LA Lakers Preview
Although the LA Lakers are clear favorites to win the game, they still have problems, with Anthony Davis continuing to be absent from the lineup. Davis' calf injury was diagnosed as a strained Achilles and coach Frank Vogel has reported that he is facing a four-week recovery timetable.
LeBron James will have to carry a lot of the burden this game with his side losing to the Brooklyn Nets in their last outing despite a 32-point effort from him.
Key Player - LeBron James
LeBron James is the centerpiece of this team's offense. With Anthony Davis absent, we should expect more from James in this game. Increased minutes, more shot attempts, and possibly a big defensive performance as well. Meanwhile, James has been selected to his 17th straight All-Star game, all have been as starters.
LA Lakers Predicted Lineup
G - Wesley Matthews, G - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, F - LeBron James, F - Kyle Kuzma, C - Marc Gasol.
Miami Heat Preview
The Miami Heat are looking like a shadow of their previous selves. Their players are often out of the lineup due to COVID-19 protocols or injuries and they have lost games to far easier opponents.
On a positive note, last year's rookies, Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn, have continued to impress this season. Sharpshooter Duncan Robinson is fulfilling his role perfectly, he has improved his passing aptitude and defensive skills, and is more alert and aware during pick-and-rolls.
The Miami Heat's current road trip isn't going so well, they will need to pull out all stops to defeat this LA Lakers team.
Key Player - Jimmy Butler
Miami Heat's heart and soul, Jimmy Butler, is the most influential player in the squad. He contributes in most statistical categories and the team often struggles with him off the floor. At the beginning of the season, Butler missed several games, averaged poor numbers, and was looking like a shell of himself.
However, lately, he seems to be back in form and has started to improve his productivity on the floor. The Miami Heat certainly needs a big scoring night from him in order to win this game.
Miami Heat Predicted Lineup
G - Kendrick Nunn, G - Duncan Robinson, F - Jimmy Butler, F - Kelly Olynyk, C - Bam Adebayo.
Heat vs Lakers Match Prediction
As mentioned earlier, the LA Lakers are clear favorites to win this game, but given Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder's absence, this game can still go either way. With Davis and Schoder missing, the LA Lakers' defense will take a big hit and they will need to pay added attention to Heat's Herro and Robinson at the three-point line.
LeBron James and Jimmy Butler are expected to guard each other and their matchup is crucial to this game's outcome.
Where to watch Heat vs Lakers?
The Miami Heat vs LA Lakers game will be broadcast on nationally on ABC in the US. The game can also be live-streamed on the NBA League Pass.