A marquee Friday NBA matchup sees the Los Angeles Lakers welcome Jimmy Butler’s Miami Heat. Both teams head their respective conferences, though at 6-1 Los Angeles owns the NBA’s best record.
Standing just behind, Miami enters tonight 6-2. After losing vs. Denver to begin their current three-game road trip, the Heat rebounded Thurs. 124-108 vs. Phoenix.
The Lakers ride a six-game unbeaten run and enter an 8.5 point favorite over Erik Spoelstra’s men.
With LAL winning, LeBron entering new stage of greatnessIn his 17th NBA season, LeBron James continues his near-unrivaled excellence. The 35-year-old’s basketball IQ is on a rare plane where game mastery meets physical ability. The most recent example of such convergence is late-Bulls Michael Jordan -rare. James’ 11 apg lead the league and spark Los Angeles’ charge while simplifying life for tandem star Anthony Davis. James (26.1 ppg) & Davis (26.6 ppg) are the current top tandem in a climate primed with All-Star duos. Though, what sets the Lakers’ stars apart is their unyielding defensive commitment.
After James endorsed new head coach Frank Vogel’s principled philosophy of shifting, scrapping and communicating on both ends, the top-down effect became infectious. Even Dwight Howard is sacrificing for the greater good.
Frank Vogel discusses the team finding early success. pic.twitter.com/e2mAJzLTDW— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 7, 2019
At six consecutive wins, the Lakers top the association in Def. Rtg., hold opponents to 41.7 FG % and create 18.7 turnovers per game.
This tenacity was displayed recently as LAL outscored Chicago 38-19 during a final-stanza rally to cap a 118-112 win from United Center. Stirring shades of the one who built the Bulls’ home floor, LeBron added 30 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for his 84th triple-double -#5 all time. Meanwhile, flanked by emergent Kyle Kuzma, Davis, Howard, Avery Bradley, Danny Green etc., the Lakers have held five of their last six opponents under 110 points. In return, Los Angeles offers 111 ppg, but as shown in Chicago, can find buckets when needed.
And LeBron keeps proving his odometer is classic built for any era.
Miami becoming NBA’s deepest teamNot to be lost in translation before the Lakers’ undeniable aura, championship play-caller Erik Spoelstra and former dynastic Lakers architect Pat Riley are building special culture in South Beach. Another grinding, nuanced group, the Heat’s Def. Rtg. stands fourth overall. Miami has held five of their six recent victims below 110 points as seven Heat add double-figure scoring -led by rookie Kendrick Nunn (18.3), Butler (15.0) & reserve star Goran Dragic (15.1). Meanwhile, Justice Winslow, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and a host of starters and reserves give Miami the NBA’s deepest roster.
That depth should help offset Miami’s back-to-back, jet-lagged fatigue. The Heat certainly showed no fatigue Thurs. vs. rising Phoenix. As the smoke cleared, Miami stood 124-108 over the Suns. Capping matters, Butler added a star-worthy 34 points and Dragic 25. Adebayo flashed his trademark toughness vs. Monty Williams’ men, adding 15 points and ten rebounds as youngsters Herro (15) and Nunn (11) completed Miami’s double-figure scorers.
With no major injuries to report, the Heat average 113.7 ppg, #13 NBA. Meanwhile, Avery Bradley is listed as doubtful for Los Angeles.
Trends courtesy of Covers.com
- Heat are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Heat are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
- Heat are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Lakers are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games following an ATS loss.
- Lakers are 9-26-1 ATS in their last 36 vs. Eastern Conference.
- Lakers are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.