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HHH GameTime Preview: Heat (26-33) host Lakers (16-43)

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The Heat continue to seek consistency when they take on the visiting Lakers on Wednesday.

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off the 115-98 win against the Phoenix Suns, the Miami Heat seek their 27th victory against the Los Angeles Lakers at home.

The Lakers just lost 103-104 to the Charlotte Hornets. Considering how the Lakers have poor defensive frontcourt in Carlos Boozer and Robert SacreHassan Whiteside should have field day as long as he doesn't tackle anyone. Lakers backcourt Wayne Ellington and Jordan Clarkson aren't exactly the lock-down defensive types either and will have trouble guarding the more experience Goran Dragic and seasoned veteran Dwyane Wade. Considering the Lakers' poor record and the Heat's recently upgraded bench, things aren't looking good for the Lakers.

While Miami continues to improve throughout the season, they occasionally struggle against teams with worse records. There are a few things Miami needs to look out for against the Lakers. Rookie Jordan Clarkson is still developing but has shown signs of athletic brilliance and seems to have a knack for scoring. In the case that Tarik Black enters the game, Miami needs to be careful around the paint. In addition, Jordan Hill is great at crashing the boards and shooting mid-range jumpers. The worst possible scenario is if Linsanity happens. Jeremy Lin has been playing phenomenally after the All-Star break since Byron Scott is finally giving him more minutes. Whenever Lin and Ed Davis are on the court together, the paint instantly becomes more vulnerable because the Lin/Davis pick-and-roll chemistry is insane. Lin is a good shooter from beyond the arc (a spot where Miami struggles to defend) and is adept at driving to the paint. Dragic should stay close to Lin and Whiteside needs to be ready in case Lin gets loose.

Since the Heat just beat a decent (but recovering) team by double digits, I would predict that they lead the Lakers for the majority of the night. Dragic is still meshing with the team but looks better with each game, Wade is starting to rely more on his teammates now that he has an elite point guard on his team, Luol Deng is playing well and Whiteside has been great as usual. Hopefully Miami will lead the Lakers enough to allow Zoran Dragic and the bench to get some playing time.

Heat Starting Lineup:
F – Luol Deng
F – Udonis Haslem
C – Hassan Whiteside
G – Dwyane Wade
G – Goran Dragic

Lakers Starting Lineup:
F – Ryan Kelly
F – Carlos Boozer
C – Robert Sacre
G – Wayne Ellington
G – Jordan Clarkson

Game Time: 8:00 PM ET
Broadcast: ESPN, SUN Sports, TWC SN / TWC D, 710 AM ESPN / 1330 A, 104.3 The Ticket / S

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