L.A, Lakers (46-15 SU 26-33-2 ATS) at Miami Heat (30-31 SU 29-32 ATS) American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL 8 PM EST Thursday March 4, 2010 on TNT
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Lakers -4.5 / Heat +4.5
Tonight in the Sunshine State the Miami Heat host the L.A. Lakers. The Lakers are in good shape being in 1st place in the Western Conference with a comfortable 5.5 game lead over the Dallas Mavericks. On the other hand the Heat are battling it out just to make the post season, as they are in the 8th position in the Eastern Conference only leading the Charlotte Bobcats by a single game. However, the Heat only trail the 5th place team in the East Toronto by 2 games.
Miami needs a strong 2nd half push not only to make the playoffs, but also to move up in the standings so they do not have to face Cleveland and Orlando in a 1st round playoff match up.
The Heat are coming off a won and are 6-4 in their last 10 games and the Lakers have won 3 straight and are 8-2 in their last 10 games.
Kobe Bryant has struggled since coming back from injury only shooting 34.3% in his last 3 games even though the Lakers have won all 3.
Other Lakers have really been stepping up their play with their superstar struggling, especially Lamar Odom (10.3 ppg), who is averaging 13.5 ppg and 10.8 rpg in his last 10 games, and Jordan Farmer (7.7 ppg), who is getting more playing time lately.
In his last 3 games against the Heat Farmer is averaging 14.7 ppg on 65.4% shooting and when he is in double digits in the scoring department the Lakers are 17-1.
Miami did not get Amare Stoudamire from the Suns, which really would have helped them this season. The Heat do not have much of an inside presence and they will need to suck it up to play solid D against the 7-foot duo of Pau Gasol (17.2 ppg 11.2 rpg) and Andrew Bynum (15 ppg 8.2 rpg).
Michael Beasley (15.4 ppg) and Jermaine O’Neal (13.4 ppg) have to play well on both ends of the court tonight, especially on offense, as Dwayne Wade (26.2 ppg) cannot do it all.
In their last game the Lakers crushed the Indiana Pacers 122-99 on Tuesday night. The high scorer for L.A., shocker, was Kobe going for 24 points, but he was only 5/14 from the floor. For the game the Lakers shot well going 45/87 for a FG% of 51.7%. On D the Lakers allowed the Pacers to shoot 41/87 for a FG% of 47.1%.
The Heat had a tougher time winning on Tuesday night beating the Golden State Warriors 110-106. Dwayne Wade was the high scorer for Miami in the game going for 35 points on 15/23 shooting and he dished out 12 assists. For the game the Heat shot 42/85 for a FG% of 49.4%. On defense the Heat did not play well allowing the Warriors to shoot 44/86 for a FG% of 51.2%.
This season the Lakers rank 5th in scoring (102.9 ppg) and the Heat only rank 27th (95.9 ppg). On defense the Miami is solid ranking 3rd in the league in points allowed (95.2 ppg) and the Lakers rank a respectable 7th (96.1 ppg). Both teams are pretty even on the boards, as the Lakers have a rebounding differential of +2.2 rpg and the Heat are at +2.0 rpg.
According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Lakers rank 2nd (96.53) and the Heat rank 14th (90.70).
Miami is 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games, 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games, and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games as an underdog of 0.5-4.5.
Miami has an Under record of 7-1 in their last 8 home games and has an Under record of 5-1-1 in their last 7 games as an underdog.
L.A. is 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games, 2-6-1 ATS in their last 9 games as a favorite of 0.5-4.5, and 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games following an ATS win.
L.A. has an Under record of 6-1 in their last 7 road games and has an Under record of 7-1 in their last 8 games as a favorite.
On the injury front SG Dwayne Wade, PG Mario Chalmers, and PG Rafer Alston are day-to-day for Miami while L.A. is not reporting any significant injuries.
Jason’s Pick: The last 3 games between these two teams have been decided by a combined total of 6 points. Look for Miami to come out charged up and to give the Lakers all they can handle. Take the Heat to cover the spread.