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HHH GameTime Preview: Heat visit Los Angeles

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The Heat pay a visit to the west coast for one last game versus the Kobe-era Lakers.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight at 10:30 PM EST, the Miami Heat will face the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. This will be the final game between the two clubs this season. The Heat won the first, 101-88 in Miami on November 10th.

Miami just completed a two-game homestand with victories over the Orlando Magic, 108-97 on Friday and the Brooklyn Nets, 110-99 on Monday. This game kicks off a three-game west coast roadtrip. They'll go on to play the Sacramento Kings on Friday and the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.

The Lakers are starting a quick two game homestand. They'll play the Boston Celtics on Sunday before a "home-and-home" series against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The last time Miami played the Lakers resulted in a 13-point win for the Heat, 101-88 on November 10th. Chris Bosh led the 4-3 Heat with 30 points and 11 rebounds, Hassan Whiteside had 19 with 15 boards, and Dwyane Wade had a dozen with six helpers. Nick Young led the 1-5 Lakers with 17 points off the bench, while Louis Williams and Metta World Peace each had 14 in a losing effort.

If he can't go, you know he's hurt. The level of concern is pretty up there right now. - Lakers coach Byron Scott, on Kobe Bryant sitting out with a back injury.

More on the Lakers is available at Silver Screen and Roll.

Miami's last game would see them win a 110-99 decision at home over the New Jersey Nets on Monday night. Dwyane Wade led Miami with 30 points on 14-for-19 shooting and nine assists. Hassan Whiteside scored 27 with eight boards, and Josh Richardson scored 16 with five rebounds in a game-high 38 minutes. Brook Lopez scored 26 in defeat, backed by Thaddeus Young's 20 points and nine rebounds. Young shot 10-for-12 from the floor.

In the second half, you could see our intensity level, physicality, aggressiveness defensively was much, much better. That's hopefully something we can build on.

NetsDaily has more on Brooklyn.

In the Lakers last game, the Utah Jazz won by a 123-75 final count. Rodney Hood led the Jazz with 30 points, scored on 11-of-13 shooting, backed by 17 each from Shelvin Mack and Trevor Booker. Rudy Gobert had 19 rebounds for Utah. Los Angeles was led by Lou Williams, who scored 16 in 17 minutes off the bench. Bryant scored five on one-of-11 shooting, and registered a minus-44 rating for the game.

I just tried to choke plays off. If he catches it, then I'm killed, especially tonight because I've played way too many games in a row. I can't move. If he catches it, he can go right by me. So I tried not to let him catch it. - Bryant on guarding Hood.

The cleverly monikered SLC Dunk has more Jazz news.

All-Time Heat-to-Head: Miami owns a 25-30 all-time record against the Lakers, but have won the last seven meetings.

GameTime: 10:30PM, NBATV, TWC SN, FS-SUN

Standings

Miami Heat: 43-30, .589, on pace for 48-34. Second in the Southeast Division (by one game to the Atlanta Hawks), fourth in the Eastern Conference (a half game ahead of the Boston Celtics and the Charlotte Hornets), eighth in the NBA (2 1/2 games in front of the Memphis Grizzlies). Last Five: W-W-L-W-W.

Los Angeles Lakers: 15-59, .203, on pace for 17-65. Fifth in the Pacific Division (five games behind the Phoenix Suns), 15th in the Western Conference (10 games behind the 13th place Minnesota Timberwolves), 29th in the NBA (6 1/2 games ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers). Last Five: W-L-L-L-L.

Injury Report

Miami Heat: Goran Dragic (illness) remains a game-time decision. Chris Bosh (calf, April 5th) and Tyler Johnson (shoulder, April 10th) will not play.

Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant (shoulder) and Nick Young (illness) are game-time decisions.

Probable Starting Lineup

Miami Heat
PG - Josh Richardson
SG - Dwyane Wade, Gerald Green
C - Amar'e Stoudemire, Hassan Whiteside
SF - Joe Johnson, Justise Winslow
PF - Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts

Los Angeles Lakers
PG - D'Angelo Russell, Marcelo Huertas
SG - Jordan Clarkson, Lou Williams
C - Roy Hibbert, Brandon Bass
SF - Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace
PF - Julius Randle, Larry Nance

Is anyone feeling salty? Wanna go? Let's play the Five Stars prediction game.

One point for each pick who ends up appearing in the five stars. Two points for picking the player and the position. Bonus point for picking all five players, two bonus points for picking all five players in the correct positions. I'll track the results for the rest of the season and award the winner some Heat swag, courtesy of Fan Essentials. Check them out if you get a minute.

You can also make other predictions, is in Justise Winslow will make at least four steals, or Hassan will register six or more blocks. These (correct) predictions will result in points awarded on a scale that's entirely in my head. More points will be awarded based on declining probability of a correct guess. In other words, if you say Josh Richardson scores 50 tonight with 10 rebounds, and he does, that's worth like, five points.

Miami's magic number for a playoff berth is three. That's any combination of three Heat wins and Chicago Bulls (the current holder of ninth place in the east) losses. Join us here late for the GameThread, which will go live just before the tipoff.