2021-04-08
Los Angeles Lakers
Miami Heat
League : NBA

Miami Heat vs Los Angeles Lakers Prediction & Preview



 

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

 

The Miami Heat host the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night at American Airlines Arena in Miami in an all-important NBA showdown. Currently, the Heat are favored by 8-points, down from 8.5 at the opening, while the total stands at 204-points, also down from 204.5.

The Lakers enter the contest winners of 2 of their last 3 as they were able to put on an outstanding display on both ends of the floor in the first half versus the Raptors en route to the 9-point win. Los Angeles boasted 7 double-digit scorers with Talen Horton-Tucker coming off the bench to lead the team with 17 points and 6 assists on 6-10 shooting (3-4 3FG). Alex Caruso also went 3-4 from deep to post 13 off the bench while Marcus Morris led the starters with 15 and 9. Their defense allowed just 40% shooting to the Raptors while the home team connected on only 5 of 33 shots from 3-point range. The Lakers were able to cover as 1-point favorites, yet are 2-3 ATS in their last 5 outings.

The Heat halted a 4-game win streak as they fell by 12-points at home versus the Memphis Grizzlies Tuesday night as Miami allowed the road team to shoot over 50% from the field in addition to converting on 17 treys. And while the Heat also had a strong shooting night with Jimmy Butler leading with 28 points on 11-16 shooting, Miami's inability to keep the Grizzlies off the boards and the free-throw line was certainly the difference-maker. The loss dropped the Heat to 26-25 on the year while dropping to 3rd-place within the Southeast division. Miami also failed to cover the spread as 6.5-point favorites versus the Lakers, yet, the team is 4-1 ATS in their last 5.

Los Angeles have picked up wins in 7 of their last 10 meetings versus the Heat. However, Miami has won 3 of their last 5, including prevailing in a 2-point road outing late February. The Heat have dominated against the spread going 7-3 in their last 10 matchups while going 3-1 against the number in their last 4 at American Airlines Arena.

 

Lakers continue to rack up wins without Big-2 in the lineup

Los Angeles continues to remain 1.5-games ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers for 5th in the Western Conference playoff picture while being only a game behind the Los Angeles Clippers for 3rd-place. However, despite the team picking up wins in 4 of their last 6 outings, the team averaging just under 100-points since the injury to Lebron James. Furthermore, with Anthony Davis along with Andre Drummond also continuing to mend from calf and toe injuries, I am not sure how long this team can keep up their winning ways.

 

They certainly faced a tough stretch moving forward as they will continue their 5-game East Coast road trip with matchups versus a Heat squad that has won 4 of 5, followed by 3 of the top 7 teams in the Eastern Conference in the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, with ending their trip with a visit to Charlotte to battle the Hornets. On the other hand, with their new acquisition Ben McLemore set to join the team after being traded from the Houston Rockets, the Lakers hope that he can add an additional dimension to their offense.

The team has been able to get balanced scoring during this time, however, with Dennis Schroder, Morris, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope leading the way on the offensive end. Marc Gasol has also shined on both ends posting double-digits in his last 2 games while posting 5 blocks. Important to add, however, that the center has 9 turnovers during this time while shooting 2-6 FG along with 2-6 from deep for 6-points in the Lakers' 2-point home loss to the Heat in February.

Kyle Kuzma posted 23 points in this contest to lead the team; Yet, the guard is coming off an 8-point performance versus the Raptors, his 2nd-straight single digit performance. Horton-Tucker has posted double-digits in 3-straight games, but finished with 5-points while Caruso went scoreless on 0-3 shooting. Caldwell-Pope made 3 of 5 treys for 11 points while Schroder did not suit up for the contest.

 

Miami defense plays awful versus Grizzlies

And while the Heat entered their contest versus Memphis allowing just over 100-points to their prior 4 opponents, they were lit up by a Grizzlies team that has been on fire of late. However, they seek to end a 4-game home stand on a winning note before hitting the road for a 4-game West Coast road trip where 3 of their matchups will be versus the best in the west in the Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, and the Denver Nuggets.

 

Bam Adebayo, who is coming off a triple-double performance versus Memphis with 18 points, 10 boards, and 10 dimes, posted a double-double last February in their win over the Lakers. Sharp-shooter Duncan Robinson also recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds in the contest despite fouling out. Butler finished with 24 and 8 rebounds on 8-20 shooting in addition to sinking 8-10 free throws as the team shot a dismal 42% from the field along with 29% from long-distance.

However, it was the defense that made a huge difference in the final result as Los Angeles made just 39% of their shots while nailing 13 of 45 treys (29%). Miami also heavily outrebounded the Lakers for the 1st time in 8 outings by a 49-43 margin (10 offensive boards).







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