Lakers vs. Heat: Second time a charm?
In the first go round against Miami on December 19, way back in 2008, the Lakers scored a season low 87 points, watched Dwyane Wade go off for 35, turned the ball over 21 times, and lost by two as Kobe's potential game-tying jumper from 12 feet rattled around the rim before harmlessly popping out. Kinda took the fun out of a quick jaunt to South Beach. Sunday night at Staples, the Lakers will try for a little revenge as they kick off a five game stretch against teams above the .500 mark. It starts with stopping Wade- though Shawn Marion wishes he was a little larger part of the offensive equation- and to get it done Phil Jackson says the Lakers may throw a few different looks at the Heat, including a little more zone and perhaps some full court pressure.
Offensively, the Lakers will look to do more of what they'd done before and since that game... meaning score.
Miami coach Erik Spoelstra believes his team is better defensively now than they were when they beat LA in December- the Heat are currently ninth in John Hollinger's defensive efficiency ratings (the Lakers are fourth)- and a quick check of the sked shows his crew has held some solid teams to relatively low numbers over the last two weeks. Granted, they've struggled to beat the best teams on their schedule, but the Heat aren't wilting (congrats to those of you who chose "second paragraph" in your "When do the K-Bros deliver a weak Heat/temperature reference?" office pool) by their own basket.
And the Lakers will once again be without Lamar Odom, who missed practice on Saturday and won't play tonight with a bone bruise in his right knee. If the game was all about stationary jumpers he'd be aces, but unfortunately the NBA requires a little more. The Lakers will, however, have a red hot Kobe Bryant. He's a handy guy to have around.