The Miami Heat visit the Los Angeles Lakers Friday night as they look to earn their first victory on their west coast road trip. The Heat were shocked two nights ago by the Sacramento Kings, losing in overtime 123-119. That is now two straight losses where Miami were unlucky, keeping close to the red-hot Trail Blazers less than a week ago but ultimately losing their footing as the game came to a close.
The Lakers have found their stride, winning seven of their last ten, with an impressive victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers five days ago. They have found a way to play Isaiah Thomas and Lonzo Ball in tandem, allowing them to stretch the court superbly and outscore their opponents.
Miami Heat News
Josh Richardson looks questionable for the game in Los Angeles, with an apparent foot injury suffered against Sacramento a couple of days prior. Hassan Whiteside and Dwyane Wade are also set to miss the game, both still carrying injuries from the Philadelphia and Washington games, respectively. Miami have also brought back Derrick Jones Jr. to the squad as part of his two-way contract with the G League team Sioux Falls Skyforce. He will likely be active to give the Heat another option at the three or four spot off the bench.
Los Angeles Lakers News
Difference maker Brandon Ingram will miss tonight due to a left groin strain suffered about a week ago. Rookie guard Josh Hart is out with a left hand fracture and veteran big man Channing Frye will also miss out suffering appendicitis and being ruled out for the season. Thomas Bryant and Gary Payton II also rejoin the Lakers from the G League and will be active tonight against the Heat.
Heat Lineup: Dragic, T. Johnson, Winslow, J. Johnson, Adebayo
The Heat are without their defensive rock Whiteside, but Adebayo has been impressive over the season, chowing quality on both sides of the ball. He and Winslow will be busy under the hoop, covering the basket to prevent Ball, Thomas and Julius Randle from driving to the basket. The key for Miami will be to get defensive stops early, as this Lakers teams can score from anywhere on the court. Expect another big game for Goran Dragic as well, who has played out-of-skin in the last two road games. He will be the spark Miami will need to start their offense early, as Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington will need to come up big as well with the loss of Richardson.
Lakers Lineup: Ball, Thomas, Caldwell-Pope, Randle, Lopez
Lakers play without Ingram tonight, but Randle has been exceptional this season, averaging just above 15 points this season, but scoring over 20 points in his last three starts. The Thomas and Ball experiment is coming to fruition, both complimenting each other perfectly on the court. Kyle Kuzma off the bench is also a menace, with the ability to show or get physical under the rim.
The Miami Heat currently sit eighth in the Eastern Conference, half a game behind the Milwaukee Bucks. Tip-off is at 10:30 EST at the Staples Center as the the Miami Heat look to keep their playoff hopes alive.
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