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Game Preview: Heat vs. Lakers

Hello All, Thursday night, the Heat (30-31) will take on the Lakers (46-15), considered by most to be the best team in the league. The Heat have looked better since Dwyane Wade returned against the Magic (really called that one, huh Dan?), but the Lakers come in droves and not only feature another of the league’s top 3 players (some guy named Kobe), but also probably the best supporting cast of any team. PROBABLE STARTERS Heat Lakers PG Alston D. Fisher SG Cook K. Bryant SF Richardson R. Artest PF Beasley P. Gasol C O’Neal A. Bynum The Heat do not have the big bodies to corral the Twin Towers of Gasol and Bynum and "Sixth Man" Lamar Odom, who just put up a 20/10 game off the bench the other night. That’s right, off the bench. STATISTICAL BREAKDWON (Stats from statsheet.com; 3/3/10) Effective Field Goal % The Heat is 20th in the league at 49%; the Lakers are 13th at 49.9%. EDGE: Lakers Turnover % The Heat is 4th in the league at 13.1%; the Lakers are 6th at 13.3%. EDGE: Even Offensive Rebound % The Heat is 19th in the league at 25.9%; the Lakers are 14th at 27%. EDGE: Lakers Free Throw Rate The Heat is 18th in the league at 29.2%; the Lakers are 15th in the league at 27.7%. EDGE: Lakers KEY TO THE GAME This is a classic case of the numbers not telling the full story. The Lakers are the best team in the league, and yet they look mediocre according to the Four Factors. They have the clear edge in rebounding in this matchup, although the numbers would say that it is close. Anyone who watches the Heat knows that this is misleading. The bottom line is that it is up to Wade and his supporting cast (Carlos Arroyyo?!?!?!?) to keep this thing close until the end. If that happens then it becomes a one on one game between Wade and Kobe, which could go either way. Kobe is known as an assassin in the clutch, and with good reason. But Wade isn’t half bad either, and obviously represents the Heat’s best chance in this home game. Always guard the inbound passer.