Welcome to the most overhyped game of the season.
Record: 15-12 (Pythagorean 16-11), 2nd seed in the East
Record last 10 games: 5-5
Offensive Rating: (108.3, 6th in league)
Defensive Rating: (103.9, 10th in league)
About the Heat : How good you think the Miami Heat is largely depends on your opinion going into the season. If you expected one of the top teams in the NBA, youâ€™re in lick. If you expected at title contender, well, â€¦.
The Heat made a bunch of big moves in the off-season, theyâ€™ve got Pat Riley as their coach now, but did that make he sixth best defense in the league better? No, 4 points (per 100 possessions) worse that last season. Do you really expect Antoine Walker or Jason Williams to play like Eddie Jones? They are not a bad defensive team, but unless Shaq decides to play like the Shaq of 2000, they are far from better.
The Heat offense remains potent, and since the return of Pat Riley that offense has focused around Shaq, and he has responded shooting 52.8% (eFG%) on the season. As much as we here in LA like to knock Shaq for his weight (Shaqâ€™s so fat he went to the movie theater and sat next to everyone) he is, when motivated, still unguardable in the low post.
Out top there is Wade, he of the 27.3 PER that should make everyone in the NBA a little scared.
One thing I hope to see today: The morning game between Detroit and San Antonio â€” those are the two best teams in the NBA right now.
Under over on the number of times the announces mention Kobeâ€™s new shoes: Three.
The Lakers coming in: A good team win for the Lakers in Orlando, another game where the supporting cast stepped up â€” take Kobe out of the equation and the Lakers shot 57.8% (eFG%) for the game. Four of the five starters plus Luke Walton â€” the five on the floor for the big late second quarter run that won the game â€” all finished at least +16.
The Lakers got a huge game out of Chris Mihm, who had 20 points on 8 of 9 shooting, and led the team at +18. They need him, plus Kwame Brown, to step up in this game.
Keyâ€™s to a Laker win: Expect James Posey to spend a lot of time on Kobe. If he can slow Kobe, the key is the shooting or everyone esle â€” Posey is good but he can’t guard everyone. The Lakers will win because of everyone outside of Kobe and Lamar, or lose becuse of them.