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Game #32: Miami Heat (22-9) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (21-8)

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LeBron James is ready to take down the Lakers for the first time in a Heat uniform.
LeBron James is ready to take down the Lakers for the first time in a Heat uniform.

This game has been in the making for about 4-5 months.  Ever since Chris Bosh and LeBron James took their talents to South Beach, the matchup between the Heat and the NBA's defending champs has been one that every NBA fan has wanted to see.  When the schedules came out, suddenly we all had another reason to look forward to Christmas.  Heat-Lakers, December 25th.  It's finally here. 

The Heat players and coaches refuse to say this game is any kind of measuring stick for them. "It's just another game," says LeBron James, and he's right.  Miami is still a team that is working out the kinks and getting used to playing with one another.  I'm sure the game will still have plenty of meaning for whichever team wins it, but at this point of the season neither team should be overly concerned with a loss.

As for the fans, well I know that I'll be disappointed if the Heat doesn't walk out with a win.  All the hype will just make it annoying for whichever team loses, and I'm sure overblow things for the winner.  I have a feeling that after the game we're all going to be sick of hearing about a Heat-Lakers finals, but if it actually happened then it would be the kind of series that the whole world would want to see...maybe even more then Lakers-Celtics

The Heat have been playing some awesome basketball over the past few weeks, and I think are in a better place right now then the Lakers.  Miami has done a great job of being consistent, even if they haven't won every game in the same way.  The more they adapt to each other and learn strengths and weaknesses, the easier it gets to know where and when to get the ball. 

I hope that Dwyane Wade is healthy enough to go because both teams should be bringing their ‘A' game.  Wade said on Friday that he expects to be in the lineup, admitting that taking the night off against Phoenix definitely helped his chances of playing today in Los Angeles.  This should be a really good one Heat fans...a Christmas treat for us all to enjoy. 

GAME NOTES

  • Miami has lost 5 of their last 7 against the Lakers. 
  • The last time the Heat won in LA was on Christmas day in 2004.  I can't believe that was 6 years ago...
  • The Heat have won 13 of their last 14 games overall. 
  • The Lakers had won 5 straight before their loss to Milwaukee on Tuesday.
  • Kobe Bryant has averaged 24.9 points against the Heat in his career.  LeBron James has averaged 27.9 points against the Lakers in his career.
  • Miami is a perfect 8-0 on the road in the month of December.
  • Dwyane Wade (knee) is questionable and Udonis Haslem (foot) is out.
  • For LA, center Theo Ratliff (knee) is out. 

Tipoff from the Staples Center is set for 5 o'clock, and is the 3rd game in the NBA's crazy 5-game Christmas extravaganza.  It's better then last year when the Heat played the Knicks in New York at noon.  Lets go Heat!!!