Preview and Chat: The Miami Heat

Darius Soriano —  January 17, 2013

Records: Lakers 17-21 (11th in the West), Heat 25-12 (1st in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 106.4 (6th in the NBA), Heat 108.9 (T 2nd in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.4 (17th in the NBA), Heat 101.6 (12th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Earl Clark, Dwight Howard
Heat: Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Udonis Haslem, Chris Bosh
Injuries: Lakers: Jordan Hill (out for the year), Steve Blake (out); Heat: none

The Lakers Coming in: First things first, Pau Gasol will make his return tonight after being reevaluated today. He will come off the bench as he eases his way back into game form, with the implication he’ll likely start on Sunday. This, of course, is fantastic news. Pau has not had his finest year to date, but his talent is very much needed on this team if  they’re to accomplish the larger goals they’ve set for themselves.

Continuing with the happy theme, the Lakers have won two games in a row and are finally starting to show some consistent defensive fortitude. The opponents haven’t been the best offensive teams, but the Lakers have still been making the extra efforts and started to clean up their communication in a way that translates to any opponent. This is a team wide effort, but it’d be silly to overlook the value gained from Kobe taking a more active approach on defense (by guarding opposing playmakers each night). It’d also be silly to ignore that Dwight Howard has looked much better upon his return from his shoulder issue, showing more spring in his step and a bounciness around the rim that really helps the interior defense.

When combined with Earl Clark playing well on D and Ron continuing to be disruptive on whoever he’s being asked to guard, the Lakers are making strides on that end. Being able to sustain this effort is key and we’ll see if they have it in them, but the last two games have been a good start.

The Heat Coming in: Tonight represents the final game of a 6 game roadie for the Heat, a trip that’s seen them go 2-3 so far. Their up and down play has been a bit concerning, with coach Erik Spoelstra and LeBron James commenting about the team’s effort after a bad loss to the Jazz.

However, talk that like is quickly forgotten after a game like last night’s demolition of the Warriors. The Heat cruised to a win — leading by 30 after 3 quarters — ramping up their defensive intensity, creating easy baskets in the open court, and picking apart a solid Dubs’ defense in the halfcourt with strong execution.

At this point, I’d go into a discussion of who is driving the Heat’s strong play this year but that’s not really necessary, is it? LeBron James is having another phenomenal year, Wade is playing well after a rough start to the season, and while Bosh has seen a dip in his numbers it can be attributed to playing less minutes moreso than any decline in his game. With the addition of Ray Allen and the continued growth of Mario Chalmers, the Heat remain one of the few true contenders for the title and the favorite to get through an improved Eastern Conference.

Heat Blogs: The Heat Index does a fantastic job of covering this team from every angle. Check them out.

Keys to game: Normally the fact that the Heat are playing on the second night of a back to back and are at the end of a long road trip would be a key variable to this game. However, with last night’s blowout of the Warriors and the fact that this is a marquee matchup, there shouldn’t be any issues with tired legs or a lack of focus. This game matters to both teams and will be played as such.

That brings us back to matchups and who/where the advantages exist.

Defensively, I’m interested to see who starts out guarding LeBron. This season James has moved his game to the foul line and down even more, creating post up chances that lead to quality shots for himself and his teammates. His superior size and strength make him a load to deal with down there and whoever guards him will need to battle him for position and try to contain him in single coverage in order to avoid the types of passing chances that open up from double teaming. LeBron eats those chances up and the Heat become much more dangerous when everyone is involved. This isn’t to say that LeBron won’t operate from the wing too, however. He’s still a major threat in the P&R and the Heat run a lot of sets with him holding the ball above the arc while surveying the floor as cutters and screens operate along the baseline.

My sense is that Earl Clark will get the first shot on LeBron (and allow Ron to guard Haslem), but I also think starting with Ron on LeBron, Clark on Bosh, and Dwight on Haslem allows the Lakers defenders to play closest to their comfort zones (especially Dwight). We’ll see when the game starts, but the latter would probably be my preference.

I’m also interested in seeing Kobe defend Wade. While there’s a great respect between the two players, I’d also venture to say there’s no love lost either. These two have been the premier shooting guards in the league for a decade and whenever they go head to head the physicality ramps up and the competitiveness is brought out of both of them. Furthermore, Kobe’s been a terror defensively for the past couple of games but has done most of his work as an on the ball worker against primary initiators. Over the past two seasons, Wade has evolved into more of an off the ball threat, cutting and curling off picks first and operating as a P&R ball handler and in isolation second. Kobe mustn’t get lost off the ball, watching LeBron or Bosh work in isoation as Wade will find openings in the defense behind him by cutting into space and finishing.

Of course, while Kobe and Clark and Ron are important, the most important Laker on defense is Dwight Howard. Especially against a Heat team that loves to pressure the paint and then kick out to open shooters when the defense collapses. If Dwight can roam around the rim and protect the basket against LeBron and Wade, the Lakers wings can stay home more and not allow shooters to get the types of open looks they thrive on. The wings will need to limit dribble penetration and now allow straight line drives to the rim, but if they’re able to shade their man and funnel them to Dwight, the Lakers’ D will be poised to perform well.

Offensively this game comes down to a few factors.

First, the Lakers must protect the ball against Miami’s ball pressure. LeBron and Wade love to attack passing lanes and turn lazy ball movement into the types of live ball turnovers that become highlight reel baskets. Nash must also be aware of defenses trying to blitz him when he comes off the P&R, trapping him and knocking him off balance to force turnovers. In recent games, teams have gotten more aggressive with Nash (especially as the game goes on) and in any P&R that involves LeBron hedging, the risk of a trap increases.

Second, the Lakers must make the extra pass and then look inside for quick duck ins to Dwight. Against the Bucks, the Lakers started the game making these types of entries to Dwight and he was able to convert at the rim easily, fueling his energy for the rest of the game. Following this strategy again tonight will go a long way to taking advantage of Dwight’s size and strength advantage inside. I’m not advocating force feeding Howard, but keeping an attentive eye on hims and being aware of when he opens up for an easy entry is important.

Third, the Lakers must hit the outside shots that are made available to them. Miami is middle of the pack in terms of 3 point field goal percentage allowed, and can be overly reliant on their athleticism to recover to shooters around the arc after digging down to the paint to help. With Howard working inside (and Gasol, hopefully doing so as well when he comes off the bench), the Heat will likely help down low and then try to get back out to the wing to contest shots. The Lakers will do well to make them pay for helping down low by hitting the outside shots made available to them. Jamison and Ron, especially, will need to have their best efforts from behind the arc tonight.

The Lakers are really trying to build momentum and a win against the Heat would be a huge step in that direction. The Heat, despite some issues on the road this year, are still the champs and knocking them off would not only provide a boost of confidence but would serve as reinforcement that the team’s recent approach has them moving in the right direction.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on TNT. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM


Darius Soriano

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227 responses to Preview and Chat: The Miami Heat

  1. I have a feeling that this team is constructed to beat the heat matchup wise.

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  2. love ur work Darius. cant wait here…go Lakers

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  3. @Formal. agree wif u pal…n e knicks too. Heat wil not be repeatin dis year #gut check#. i still believ in a laker miracle dis year…n i noe Darius does too

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  4. I will be surprised if the Lakers win this game. They have NO answer for Lebron….AT ALL. Then again, most teams don’t. But what I will be looking for is for the Lakers to play competitive throughout the whole game and to have a chance to win late in the 4th quarter. If they can do that, then those last two games mean something. If they can’t and just get beat badly, then we know there is still some issues with this team.

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  5. Tonight is Kobe’s 1200 NBA career game, here’s hoping the Lakers make it a good one with a win over the champs.

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  6. I want to believe. Maybe I need to believe. But I’m tired of being let down. The Lakers are less healthy today than they were a month ago, and yet they tease us with potential.

    Against the Heat, there’s no reason to think that Dwight can’t dominate the middle, Clark can’t more than hold his own against Haslem, or Battier, or even Ray Allen if need be. Wade can be controlled. Nash’s weakness on defense is less problematic against an offensively challenged Chalmers. As for LBJ, I’d rather trot out MWP to defend him than any other player in the league, so that’s about as good as it gets. There’s reason to believe they can get it done.

    And then there’s the past two and a half months. There are 60 point halves by opponents, losses to Cleveland, and narrow wins against Charlotte. So there are plenty of reasons NOT to believe, too.

    How is it that I can believe that the Lakers can beat the Eastern Conference’s best team, even in a 7 game series, at the same time I believe there’s an excellent chance they won’t make the playoffs? What in the hell is going on this year?

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  7. That link of Kobe’s interview with Chris Palmer is freaking hilarious. Its a must read. I almost crapped in my pants laughing at Kobes remarks.

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  8. The Lakers absolutely need to win this game, for themselves, for their confidence, the Heat won last night but i feel they are ripe for the picking, the Lakers match great with the Heat and our front line is vastly superior. I feel good about this game. This could be a huge statement game for the Lakers going fwd. We will see…

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  9. Joe M, Lebron is Lebron but MWP can make life harder for him, the rest of the team we match up really good

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  10. The marquee matchups are nice, but I just want to see the Lakers win. They can’t reach .500 until at least their 42nd game. The Show has to crawl before it walks. What I want to see is focus and a game plan to beat the defending champs. The Lakers have had 2 days to prepare, while the Heat played last night. I’m curious to see what wrinkles, if any, MD’A has come up with. The Heat blitzed a good Warrior team last night, leading by 30 at times. They rested their main guys in the 4th and still had an easy victory.

    I’ll be watching Dwight and Pau with particular interest. The Heat are not that big but, as we all know, can really defend. Hope Pau is aggressive and that Dwight is focused and doesn’t get in foul trouble. Lakers can’t afford to turn the ball over. Miami loves to turn the other team’s miscues into fast break points. This is a game that I would love to see the Lakers refrain from the quick three…unless of course they make them all…:-)

    GO LAKERS!!l I’ve got a feeling that this one is going to be hotly contested.

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  11. Could we delete this and start over.

    Is it too late…this one is for Warren! 2-0 thus far this year when the first post goes to Warren.

    Anyway, Lakers play defense and role players step up to contribute.

    EARL CLARK!!!! Defense, hustle, help the helper, block shots and do not get in foul trouble.

    Let’s go Lakers!!!!

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  12. DWade had birthday party last night after game( today is Bday) hoping they tired themselves out.

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  13. Funky
    Offensive challenged Chalmers? I think last week he hit 7 three pointers in one game.

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  14. One other thing…I hate TNT games. Especially the ones where the Lakers are on the second half of a doubleheader. Invariably, the first game runs into the 2nd due to an overtime or just because of TNT’s excessive commercials. I once timed the vaunted, Emmy award winnimg halftime show, and found it was something like 5 minutes studio time and 15 minutes of commercials. I find the TNT halftime crew to be insufferable, so I simply don’t watch the pre-game or halftime shows anymore.

    I still get just a bit angry when I think of the excessive foul that Wade put on Kobe in last year’s ASG. That was a really bush league play. Wouldn’t mind seeing one of the Lakers putting Wade on his backside if he drives the lane…in a good clean way of course! 🙂

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  15. Finally: once Clips beat Minnesota tonight lakers go into 11th(with a win) and 2 and a half out of 7th. Houston and Portland are sinking as are Griz. I think Lakers can finish 6th with a reasonable run.

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  16. But you see, this is the problem. Pretty much everyone is saying, we can beat the Heat because they MIGHT not be at their best tonight. Cannot rely on that because you know the Heat are ready to play the Lakers tonight, whether they played last night or not. Every team gets up to play the Lakers and it is not very hard for visiting teams to play in Staples. I still think we are underdogs tonight, but like anyone, I am very hopeful for a win.

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  17. Kobe Alert: Thanks to Ken and PurpleBlood for appreciating my sense of humor on previous Kobe Alerts. Today, KB was voted as an NBA All Star starter for a 15th consecutive time. The total of 15 times being named as a starter, and the fact that they are consecutive, are both NBA records. His 15th overall selection ties him with Shaq for 2nd place all time, trailing only Kareem who was selected 19 times. He is currently tied for the all time lead, for the most actual starts with 13 (he missed one game). This game was made for him and he owns it, as he also the all time leader in points, field goals, and game MVP’s (tied with Pettit with 4). He was the leading vote getter overall this year, and that is the third time he has accomplished that – only MJ, Dr J, and V Carter have more. He is the leading vote getter of all time with 26,228,039 votes (Shaq 2nd). Tonight at tip off, he moves into 26th all time for games with his 1,200th. He needs just 41 minutes to catch Oscar for 14th in that category. He is an even 800 points behind Wilt.

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  18. Hi Chearn, I cracked up seeing that comment. And for the record, we are 6-0. I dunno why I keep track but I guess the hope that springs eternal in me does take it very seriously.

    Gasol is expected to come off bench. MDA offered him the starting post back but he supposedly asked to come off the bench. THIS is the sacrifice we need to win. THIS is the Pau Gasol I like. THIS is the start of something very good.

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  19. Robert, thanks for those stats. Keep us updated. Glad to have one in the house.

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  20. Robert…thanks for the updated Kobe All-Star alert. Interesting, isn’t it, that the man has led in All Star voting the last 2 years when supposedly he is being passed by the younger stars in the league? All those votes can’t be from Los Angeles. Nice to know that so many fans appreciate #24.

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  21. Win please?

    In Jesus name we pray, GO LAKERS!!

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  22. Koooo: The telephone number you gave a few threads back was priceless. And your in-game witty comments is hilarious.

    Don’t hold back and keep those comments coming.

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  23. KOOO, at 7.9 points per game, and limited playmaking ability, I’d say Chalmers is by far the best matchup Nash will have against any quality team in the league.

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  24. Lakers win by 1 as James misses free-throw to tie the game.

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  25. I believe Chalmers made 10 threes against the Sacramento Queens which was a Heat franchise record.

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  26. Warren: 2-0 in the new season we’re thrown the wins in 2012 out with the stale champagne. LOL

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  27. Dont blame fish January 17, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    This is it. The mostrar important game of the season IMHO. A W años we can start thinking big again. Lets go lakers!!!!!!!

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  28. Just believe, have some faith. I really dont know what to expect in this game.

    Defense, hardwork, ball movement, rebound all in one for 48mins…

    Lets GO!

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  29. Lakers need to attack the paint in this game, Heat have no inside presence at all.

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  30. Reggie’s having trouble … might need to go clean up his pants after that Lebron dunk.

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  31. This looks like a NBA team playing a high school team.

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  32. R U Kidding Me?

    If the Lakers don’t wake up, Kobe is going into Mamba mode. And, he won’t play defense he’ll just score.

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  33. Geez. Really, guys?

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  34. That was an ugly 1:30…

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  35. Not the start the Lakers needed.

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  36. I am sorry but Nash just dosen’t have it. He really has slipped to a below average player. 3 TO, air ball. This guy is not an avarge PG anymore.

    Hate to say it but it is what it us,

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  37. Started flat already smfh

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  38. Ok—we get it, MIA has had trouble in the paint—but LAL is trying to force-feed the post WAY to much in the early going, which MIA is anticipating and thwarting—just play ball damn it.

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  39. Well it was close for the first two minutes, then the Heat just put on the after burners.

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  40. Heat are looking really sharp and hungry, just as expected. The Lakers can’t run their sets as freely as they can against most other teams. Heat are so aggressive on defense.

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  41. Team is in chaos pj really brought the calm to the team. Lakers have been so out of whack in primetime games sincve pj left.

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  42. Is it really this difficult just to score a bucket? Seriously?

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  43. Lakers are lucky right now, Heat are missing wide open shots.

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  44. Kobe is lucky Wade didn’t try and give him a concussion on that play.

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  45. Joey Crawford … the NBA always pulls out the best refs for these marquee matchups, eh? (rolls eyes)

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  46. Joey Crawford as a ref tonight? Oh boy

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  47. Yes, be aggressive, Nashty! Tough being a pg with 4 players that need the ball and then get yours, too. Steve is not in game shape yet. Not elite anymore but the best pg we’ve had in years.

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  48. MIA has only four points in the half-court so far—-just stop turning it over guys….

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  49. I think the only time the Heat have scored is when we’ve turned it over. So here’s a thought. Stop it!!

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  50. Hope we can cut down on those TOs

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  51. Lakers taking bad quick 3’s and turning the ball over = only reason Heat have scored.

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  52. Pau is looking re-energized! Just need to fix these turnovers…on pace for like 40.

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  53. The D is looking pretty good but waaaayyy to many turnovers.

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  54. First quarter Lakers with 8 turnovers leading to 14 points and Heat score 22 points in the paint, Lakers down by 4 but it could have been worse.

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  55. Could have been worse, boy the Lakers have the worst point guard defense in the NBA off bench and starter, What was FO thinking to start season with these guys.

    They most make a trade to find anyone to play D in a league full of great PGs.

    Must.

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  56. 10 freaking tos on 13 minutes is that a record?

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  57. Pau for 3….wait…why???

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  58. Please get Darius Morris outta there.

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  59. If it wasnt for all those turnovers the Lakers would be winning by at least 10, Miami’s offense is shot down

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  60. I like Dwight, Pau and Clark out there together

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  61. Spoelstra always seems to have at least Wade or Lebron out there at all times. Maybe MDA should take notes.

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  62. Now what

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  63. How does Pau not dunk that off the great pass…

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  64. We can beat these puds. No more TOs

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  65. Pound the “&$@@&&@)@” ball inside!!!!!!

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  66. Kobe is playing bad.

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  67. They havent go thru Dwight once since he came back

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  68. Shoot the stupid ball Kobe. Enough passing.

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  69. This game shows that size doesn’t mean crap in this league anymore. It’s all about youth, athleticism, and speed.

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  70. @Kevin_ Mamba´ll bounce back

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  71. Lakers haven’t faced a team that is this aggressive in rotations…on top of that they are fearful because of all the turnovers they have already made…they are really unable to dump it inside. need to run a bit more PNR with Nash, to create mismatches, though they have been good in shutting that down as well.

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  72. So the good news is the Lakers D looks so much better (for the 3rd game) that one is left with the only conclusion: that they just were not really trying that hard before.

    The bad news is they find a way every game to give the other team 20+ more possessions. Last game it was the boards, now its handling the rock like it is a greased pig.

    Still, you get the feeling that if they can keep the fixed things fixed, and then fix the things that are still ailing them than they are a contender. Question is can they fix all this stuff…

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  73. The all time record for turnovers is 45, in 1971 by San Francisco. I think that one is safe.

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  74. Stop passing Kobe. Crud ever pass is a turn over. Shoot the BALL

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  75. Kobe is having a very off night. He’s not being overly agressive, but his shot is just not on right now. He also has 4 of the 14 turnovers although I wonder if Dwight should have one or two of those?

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  76. purpleblood: i know just a bit to indecisive right now.

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  77. It would be nice if they called some of Miami’s moving picks.

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  78. @Kevin_ i agree

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  79. How is it that Joey is still a referee in the NBA? Challenging a player (Tim Duncan no less) to a fight, and then tossing him when he just chuckles at you (from the bench) would seem to be just cause.

    Here he calls a phantom foul on Kobe (who is playing terrible on offence but setting the tone on D so I don’t care) and then he walks over to the scorer table BUT takes the time to look back at Kobe to see if there was a T he could also be calling…he is actually LOOKING to compound his error with another error. What a jerk.

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  80. Seriously? Don’t call the 8-second count, with the entire building screaming it out? … up yours refs.

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  81. Lakers playing well atogether. Great to see that carry over from last 2 games.

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  82. It’s like an NJB team out there with the turnovers. Unbelievable.

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  83. joey crawford is one of the worst refs in nba history.

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  84. 4th TO in first half by Nash. Just stupid passed. Guy just kills the team with his bad passes, This just can’t continue. Guy plays like a 40 year old ex-player,

    Oh I meant 39.

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  85. After this horrible horrible crapfest of a turnover filled half…. The Lakers could go into the half up! Some pretty good defense being played when they aren’t turning it over.

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  86. Thing you have to notice

    1) they look better defensively and are showing signs on the offensive side as well.

    2) these guys just need time…whether its great players playing together for so few games, or new guys thrust into either bigger roles (Clark, Morris, Duhon) or new roles (Jamison) and trying to incorporate different styles even within the game and with different units….having so many injuries in addition to costing them losses has also cost them crucial opportunities to just play together. But you have to be at least a bit encouraged..

    3) Gasol has looked good…and the twin towers looked promising… wild game…

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  87. The obvious: Too many turnovers. Nash in particular. Also, we’re trying to force feed the post too much. Kobe in particular. With that being said, we’re still up @ the half. Excellent half court defense and rebounding on our end has allowed us to stay afloat.

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  88. Despite 16 turnovers and Kobe 2-9 with 4 points, Lakers lead at the half by 1.

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  89. Which is going to happen first?

    (A) LAL figures out how to stop giving away the ball;

    OR

    (B) MIA figures out how to make a shot that isn’t a dunk….

    Liked the DH12/Pau/Clark frontcourt….

    First one to figure it out probably wins…..

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  90. If it wasnt for turnoverpalloza 2013, the Lakers would be leading by 10 to 15 points. Miami is just flat and our D was pretty good.

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  91. @harvey M – well put dude

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  92. Joey Crawford: universally loathed by fans, beloved of Stern. In other words, the quintessential “company man” (read: Donaghy).

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  93. Anyone watching the halftime schpiel? Why does Shaq insist on making himself sound like a petty fool any time someone talks about Dwight Howard?

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  94. Mind

    Embarrassment to the game those 4 guys. And they get paid millions to look like fools.

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  95. The reason the Lakers have been successful. Playing defense more aggressively and Kobe is been part of an offense. Kobe has to defer if the team is going to work at all.

    Miami looks disinterested, except Lebron.

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  96. It’s amazing how terrible the defense gets when Jamison is on the floor. So many mix ups on switches, it happened at least 2-4 times in the first half.

    Nash two many turnovers because he’s telegraphing passes. He has to pass sooner to prevent getting trapped on the sidelines. Stop trying to make the perfect pass and just make a good pass.

    Coach please don’t start Pau in the 2nd half. Mike has a propensity towards changing the 2nd half lineup based upon the first half. Stick with Clark he and Howard are developing a nice synergy.

    Kobe is wearing down from playing defense. Expect offensive mistakes and no legs on shots.

    Something happened to Kobe’s finger, he’s trying not to show it.

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  97. @ purpleblood..

    thanks… the only difference in this game, is that Miami has their identity and are playing their game (if somewhat poorly) to the max..defend, disrupt create TO’s…so that even though they are kind of being dominated they are in a game they should be down 12.

    Lakers conversely are just working out their identity as they learn to play together and adjust to even the most basic things.. how to get it down low now that their bigs who have struggled all year are starting to really dominate. very interesting game, tonight.

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  98. In regards to Shaq, I’m in total agreement with you Mindcrime.

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  99. Coach DA doesn’t know how to call a timeou! End of first quarter 5 seconds and end of half 3 plus seconds call timeout and get ball at half court to set up decent shot instead no prayer shots from half court.

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  100. 14th GT of season leads the league Dwight,

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  101. A little more energy and Lakers could blow this game open. But I’m not sure they believe enough in their offense to play instinctually. The team is very mechanical on offense against this good defense. The game is their for the taking but Lakers are reacting to Miami not dictating their terms.

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  102. KOOO that wasn’t a goal tend. Was a horrible call.

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  103. Why do the Lakers always look confused on d just stay between your man and the basket it’s simple damn come on guys!!

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  104. Kobe and Nash outside shooting killing team,

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  105. I truly despise joey crawford

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  106. Some comically bad pro-Miami calls here. Par for the course, eh Joey Crawford?

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  107. The refs are calling it one sided right now.

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  108. Crawford’s crew has taken over this game in the third, and not in a good way—it all started with the bogus goaltend call on Howard and kept going from there—-

    By the way—that was no “great” defensive play by James on the “block” on Clark on the break—he planted his big right hand right in between Clark’s shoulder-blades and almost took his head off—-it’s comical–no make that inexcusable– how pro-Miami the calls are right now…

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  109. Neil

    You are 100% correct. Worst game this year for Kobe. Yet it’s close. Lakers must be really good?

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  110. That block by Lebron on Clark was a foul. He put his hand on the upper shoulder of Clark and pushed, then got the block. Of course EC would never get that call on LBJ. Nice effort by Jamison!

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  111. Calls always go to the aggressor. Lakers aren’t playing aggressive their taking what Miami wants them to take. More energy helps and a adjustment from D’Antoni wouldn’t hurt either.

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  112. Wade is a very underrated defender. He has completely shut down Kobe this whole game so far.

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  113. Well it worked out for the best but LBJ had all ball up top on Clark, but he just threw his body into Clark and clearly and obviously pushed him in the back with his other hand.

    It is amazing to me that the refs think that LBJ running at full speed and flinging himself at the offensive player results in nothing more than incidental contact. Its a foul whether he got ball up top or not.

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  114. Chearn is on point about Kobe. He is clearly tired from chasing around Irving and Jennings the last couple of games. He trying. It’s just not working for him tonight.

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  115. I really don’t care if Wade is outplaying Kobe right now. As long as we WIN, that will be a smack in the face on Wade…

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  116. BTW I don’t think Wade is doing any special on Kobe, I think:

    1. Kobe is missing shots he often makes; and
    2. This is due in part to the fact that he is expending a lot of energy on the defensive end.

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  117. Its 5 on 8 today. The three blind mice in full effect right now. Calls are just so one sided right now.

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  118. That is not even close to a foul. What a terrible call.

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  119. So they call that bs foul on Nash, but let Ray Allen whack Kobe on the previous play. This is getting ridiculous.

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  120. Kobe losing game for Lakers tonight,

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  121. What the heck is wrong with Joey Crawford today?!

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  122. Where was the foul!? Pau didn’t touch him!

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  123. Lebron just does whatever he wants. It’s like child’s play for him. We have no answer.

    And ANYBODY on the Heat can guard Kobe. We really have no advantage at any position. Not even at C since we can’t get the ball in to Dwight and when we do, they just foul him.

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  124. @Simonoid What do you mean today.

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  125. Contrast the Lebron shoving Clark in the back and elbowing him in the head, with Gasol grazing Lebron’s left pinkie — one guess as to which one Joey called a foul.

    This is reminding me of what I hate about the NBA. Playing one of Stern’s marketing guys’ favored teams, with a good Company Man as the lead ref, is like playing with a stacked deck. And Reggie Miller, Stern’s little b*tch, cheering it all on from the announcers’ booth.

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  126. What is Nash doing dribbling into double teams? James is so much better now then Kobe. Time to take Kobe out he is embarrassing himself tonight on national TV.

    Sad

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  127. @ Kevin—calls always go to the aggressor—ummm…..the calls that are getting complained about here aren’t “aggression” calls—they are ticky-tack you’ve got to be kidding me calls—We aren’t complaining that LA isn’t getting fouls called on MIA—we’re complaining about the fabricated calls that are getting made every time MIA misses a shot right now….

    Fourth quarter–go back to Dwight/Pau/Clark-MWP and play big–see what happens…

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  128. Wow – Kobe needs ot stop taking Iso shots against the heat – this has happened multiple times when we play them its like he wants to try to out-star lebron and wade.

    3-16 ugh

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  129. Like I said before the game, Lakers have NO answer for James. NO answer. Heat are just the better team, they can turn it up on defense and get consistent stops when they want, the Lakers can’t do that.

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  130. Kobe has been awful tonight. That’s really the difference. We need to keep it close and hope that it comes down to the final shot.

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  131. This could very well be Kobe’s worst offensive game as a Laker since his rookie year. 3 of 16, 6 turnovers, 1 board, 1 assist. Even when Kobe’s shot has been off on nights he usually finds other ways to contribute: by rebounding, setting people up, etc.

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  132. Joe. Ha – he’s a pretty sharp official. I just think he’s a little much of a rhythm-breaker in terms of blowing his whistle a lot. And problem for us tonight is his typical penchant for favouring the road team. He prides himself on not being afraid of making the unpopular call in front of the home crowd, and in my opinion, sometimes far too much so.

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  133. Somebody needs to put LeBron on his ass. Nothing dirty just a hard foul. Stop the damn layup lines. At least a hard foul will justify joey’s whistle

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  134. Sadly Wade always shuts out Kobe… Nash stops his dribble too much, pick and roll isn’t going to work tonight.

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  135. For a team that didn’t run a pick and roll for 10 years, it now seems that they know no other way to initiate the offense besides a high PnR.

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  136. mindcrime: Miami is getting those ticky tack calls because they are the aggressors. If Lakers went to the rack hard they’d get calls too.

    Lakers guards hounded off PnR while LeBron has free reign to off the pick to embarass our bigs. Players need some help tonight.

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  137. Kobe just missed a layup…

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  138. Kobe just can’t make any shots today.

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  139. Kobe can’t even make a layup tonight. SMH.

    Finally! B2B buckets.

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  140. I’m so confused right now. They are setting screens for Wade against Kobe and just straight holding him. Where the hell are the fouls?

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  141. @Simonoid, as to what Joey “prides himself” on: no one is more in favor with Stern than Joey Crawford. What does that tell you?

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  142. I say don’t get the ball to Howard, he is not a very good post player and misses to many easy shots.

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  143. They woke the snake! Mamba out!!! Trust me on this one 😉

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  144. Kobe may be heating up a bit, but even on that made 3 his lift was pretty weak, not that it shouldn’t be expected as we have him running around guarding the most active guys on the floor for the last 3 games because no one else on the team can. Dude is trying hard, in fact, if he worked this hard on D all year there is no way we wouldn’t be 4-8 games over 500.

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  145. KenOak,

    Anthony has been hugging players all night. Still the Lakers are in this and can win. They just need some better offensive execution.

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  146. Blizzard – I tend not to keep track of too many of those conspiracy theories, but they did a study a while ago comparing NBA official whistles for and against home/road teams and Joey is one of those who favour the road teams the most.

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  147. Battier is doing his Fisher at the rim impersonation.

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  148. Throw it down, Gasol

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  149. LBJ…damn.

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  150. But Kobe…damn.

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  151. Kobe motherf@*cking Bryant!

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  152. You guys saying wade is shutting down Kobe is ridiculous kobe has missed alot of shots he usually makes wade hasnt shut down mamba at all what game are you watching and unlike wade kobe is ding WADE 1ON 1when kobe get that ball multiple defenders are sent at HIM

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  153. These officials are making some really frustrating calls.

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  154. These refs are killing me, everyone knew it was off Bosh except the three of them.

    Incidentally, Jack is not leaving this game early.

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  155. And the hits keep coming for this crew tonight…smh….when was the last 50-50 call that either went LA’s way or at least was a no call?

    And to think–there are dozens of trolls on live game feeds that are claiming LA is getting handed this game….

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  156. … meanwhile, the avalanche of shake-your-head-and-laugh (because what else can you do?) pro-Miami calls continues apace.

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  157. This Ref with the black hair is totally calling this game for Miami – its just like the green bay seattle game earlier in the year where one ref signaled touchdown and one signaled a touchback at the same time – its getting completely ridiculous

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  158. Wade has had very little to do with Kobe’s performance tonight. Kobe is getting the shots. They just weren’t falling early. But they are starting to fall now.

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  159. Lakers will lose this game if Kobe tries to do Hero Ball the rest of the game. More people need to step up.

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  160. Win or lose, I would just like to see the Lakers execute good offensive possessions for the last 5 mins.

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  161. 2 straight possessions, 2 awful possessions by the Lakers (Kobe’s shot was not his fault, got the ball with no time to work).

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  162. Can you roll on the ground and then get up!!!? Then the blocking foul on Pau….

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  163. Joey crawford should be fired

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  164. Even in my sixth-grader’s girls’ league you can’t stand up with the ball without getting called for traveling—huge blown call—then Pau gets called for a block when it’s a clear charge….unbelieveable…

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  165. Crawford phantom foul call DAGGER.

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  166. Like to see Lakers record all time with Crawford as the ref.

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  167. Allen travelled, not surprisingly, no one with a whistle cared.

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  168. Shouldn’t a guy who has no plan for getting the ball down low with Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol against the smallest and worst rebounding team in the league lose his title as “offensive genius”?

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  169. Joey Crawford making me pissed off. Nuff said…

    DAMN!!!

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  170. Crawford’s only saving grace is that his crewmate, Zach Zarba, may in fact be, the absolute worst referee in any sport of all time.

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  171. Crawford is a joke. But what is really killing the Lakers is their scattered offense. They are setting 15 screens up top trying create a driving lane or passing lane. Mike needs to draw something up out of this timeout.

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  172. Joey Crawford doing Joey Crawford things.

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  173. Mama there goes that Mamba!

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  174. That’s A franchise player. Dwight or Nash?

    James makes those chokers look silly.

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  175. Ron can’t guard anybody anymore.

    If the ball not in Kobe’s hands late Lakers don’t know what to do.

    By the way, D’Antoni might as well not have been on the sidelines tonight.

    Nobody was there to be Howard’s wingman all
    game.

    No way a Phil Jackson coached team would continue to fall apart late in games so much last 2 years.

    Spoelstra put ball pressure on Nash and completely took him out of the game.

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  176. Lakers came into this game with no game plan to defend Lebron, you can’t defend him with single coverage, get the ball out of his hands.

    We will lose another game we could have won with better coaching and execution (see 20 turnovers).

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  177. Howard missing fts ended the game fo the lakers.

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  178. Gameover. Prediction came true. A competitive game, which the Heat would win. Good effort by the Lakers. They play like this the rest of the season they will make the playoffs.

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  179. Steve Nash looks old out there. Howard couldn’t convert those free throws. In close games he is not really an option. They played with good effort. They just don’t have enough to get it done.

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  180. Lebron would dominate us with one hand tied behind his back.

    Unfortunately, moral victories mean crap when you’re 17-22. A close loss would be ok if we were like 28-11 or something.

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  181. I dont know why no one in the league has not pulled on oakley on lebron and just clocked him on one of his layups or dunks

    Miss the knicks of the 90s

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  182. Heat’s entire offence is James and to a much lesser extent, Wade. How hard is it to game plan for that? Basically make anyone else on the Heat beat you. Terrible coaching, and the turnovers are inexcusable.

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  183. @Zirk in your hypothetical scenario, are the refs calling a fixed game for Lebron, or no? Just curious.

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  184. The Heat have been coasting lately but they turned up their swarming, championship-level D tonight like they did vs the Thunder, which is why I still think they’re the championship favorites.

    This version of the Lakers played as well as they could, but just aren’t at the same level this season.

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  185. Nash is becoming more and more disappointing. What’s the point of setting a pick for him if he won’t or can’t drive?

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  186. You can’t spot the defending champions 14 possessions. Terrible execution and a little help from the officials makes for a disappointing loss.

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  187. Bad night for Dwight to shoot even more poorly than normal at the FT line: 5 of 13. If he makes 8-9 of 13 this is possibly still a win for us.

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  188. Giving the current champs 14+ extra chances ain´t gonna benefit you in any way..
    Just one of those nights for Kobe –
    Take it easy y´all
    🙁

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  189. Feel good story Clark is feel good no more. the guy can’t take 2 dribbles withuot fumbling the ball.

    Pau is done. But we already knew that.

    PJ gave this team so much confidence it’s incredible. He’s sorely missed.

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  190. @Blizzard,
    With Joey Crawford’s crew, you never know!

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  191. Great championship defense by the heat down the stretch.

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  192. Lakers had their chances just could not get the stops when it mattered. 20 turnovers (leading to 23 Heat points) and Lakers give up a season high 68 points in the paint. LeBron was great.

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  193. The Heat are winning the title again, ain’t no team beating them. James cannot be stopped, he is just incredible and is now a good clutch player.

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  194. How did dallas get mike james and we have duhon and morris

    Dwight has no clue what post position is

    Nash has no legs

    Antoni has no clue

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  195. I think it is hilarious how people say just knock Lebron on his butt. Lebron is like Walter Payton he hits you harder than you hit him, even when your tackling him. James is unstoppable.

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  196. I truly believe if Phil was coach Lakers would’ve found a way to win. D’Anotni did NOTHING. Absolutely NOTHING to counter Spoelstra’s schemes. Mike Brown made LeBron work for it last year in LA. Difference was coaching tonight.

    Open Allen 3, open Wade mid range, LeBron open off screens while Lakers struggles for everything on their end.

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  197. We have been ”Joey”ed yet again,though great game by James.They do not need ref help.Howard FT issue is large,Kobe looked gassed.

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  198. Good effort tonight but the lack of scoring besides Kobe and poor defense as usual D’anton need to be fired

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  199. Reminiscent of the loss to the Thunder, Miami just too much too deal with for the Lakers. With Ray Allen spotting up for the kick out, it’s almost impossible to defend James & Wade. This is the kind of firepower the Lakers sadly lack and it was all on display in the last few minutes. The last possessions featured a turnover by Gasol, a wild shot by Nash, and the real backbreaker was the horrible free throws missed by Howard when the game was 92-90. This is a true reality check, Lakers are a middle of the pack team, not so sure management should continue paying 100 million dollars for this. I think they over valued size and experience over speed and shooting.

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