Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Lakers Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Miami Heat (10-8 8-9 ATS) vs. L.A. Lakers (14-3 8-9 ATS) STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA 10:30 PM EST Friday December 4, 2009 on ESPN
by Jason Green at

Point Spread: Heat +12.5/Lakers -12.5
Over/Under: 198.5

In La La Land tonight the L.A. Lakers host the Miami Heat. This game is a match up of a couple teams that are heading in different directions. The Lakers are en fuego winning their last 7 games, going 8-2 in their last 10 games, and they are in 1st place in the Pacific Division. On the other side of the coin the Heat are coming off a loss, are only 4-6 in their last 10 games, and they are in 3rd place in the Southeast Division trailing the Orlando Magic by 4.5 games.

The Heat are coming off getting spanked last night and they will have to play much better tonight to beat the defending champion Lakers. Pau Gasol is back for the Lakers and they are now, once again, THE team to beat. The Heat may be in for a long night not only because they face Kobe and company, but also because they do not have much inside presence and the Lakers do with Gasol and Andrew Bynum who are both averaging double-doubles this season.

This season the Lakers are 11-2 at home and the Heat are 6-5 on the road.

The Heat were smoked last night losing to the Denver Nuggets 114-96 last night. The high scorer for the Heat in this game was Wade going for 25 points, but he only shot 8/20 from the floor. For the game the Heat did not shoot well going 35/82 from the floor for a FG% of 42.7%. On defense the Heat allowed the Nuggets to shoot 36/76 from the floor for a FG% of 47.4%.

In the Lakers last game they beat the New Orleans Hornets 110-99 on Monday night. Kobe was not the high scorer in the game, as Andrew Bynum was going for 21 points on 9/10 shooting and he also grabbed 9 boards. For the game the Lakers shot well going 38/73 for a FG% of 52.1%. On D the Lakers allowed the Hornets to shoot 41/86 from the floor for a FG% of 47.7%.

This season the Lakers rank 7th in scoring (104.2 ppg) while the Heat only rank 24th (96.1 ppg). The reason the Heat are over .500 is their solid defense, as they rank 8th in the league in points allowed (95.4%), but the Lakers are also legit on D, as they rank 9th (96.1 ppg). The Lakers have been slightly better on the boards this season, as they have a rebounding differential of +1.1 rpg and the Heat are at -0.3 rpg.

The Lakers have yet to lose this season with Gasol in the lineup (6-0).

The Lakers will dominate the boards in this game, as both Gasol (17.7 ppg 10.3 rpg) and Bynum (18.5 ppg 10.2 rpg) will take advantage of the lack of size the heat have. The leading rebounder for the Heat is Jermaine O’Neal (14.2 ppg 7.9 rpg) and he does not have much help down low.

Bynum and Gasol should also both have a great scoring game, as O’Neil can’t play D on both of these guys at the same time and the Heat lack size on the interior.

Dwayne Wade is the reigning scoring champ in the league and this season he is averaging 26.7 ppg, but he will not have a big scoring game tonight for a couple of reasons: one, he has struggled with his shot this season shooting a career low 42.7% from the field and two, he will be guarded by Kobe Bryant, who is one of the best defenders in the league.

The Heat’s offense is all about slashing to the hoop with Wade and Michael Beasley (15.3 ppg), but they will not be able to get to the hoop tonight with Kobe and Ron Artest playing solid defense.

On the injury front neither team are reporting any significant injuries.

Jason’s Pick: This is not a good match up for the Heat to say the least, as the Lakers have 2 legit 7 footers while the Heat lack size and the Heat will be facing an athletic Lakers’ squad that will make it difficult for Miami to drive to the basket. Take the Lakers to cover.