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Game Preview: Heat look to keep momentum going against Lakers

Can Miami slow former friend LeBron James, who’s become all but superhuman since turning 38?

Los Angeles Lakers v Miami Heat Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

In their fourth of five away from home, the Miami Heat (20-18) close their Southern California adventure with the Los Angeles Lakers, who return home after a five-game road trip of their own, on Wednesday night at 10:00 p.m. ET. The game will be nationally-televised on ESPN.

The Heat have won four of their last five, with their lone loss coming by five points to the Denver Nuggets on Dec. 30. Their most recent affair resulted in a 10-point win over the Los Angeles Clippers in Jimmy Butler’s return to the starting lineup on Monday.

Though it was Bam Adebayo, Victor Oladipo and Tyler Herro who stole the show. Adebayo had another dominant performance, finishing with a game-high 31 points and 13 rebounds on 12-of-29 shooting. Herro had 23 points on 7-of-15 shooting and five triples while Oladipo added 15 points, five boards and four assists off the bench.

Nevertheless, Miami looks to carry this momentum against a Lakers squad that’s won two straight literally on the back of former friend and now-38-year-old LeBron James.

Since turning 38 on Dec. 30, James has looked superhuman in willing Los Angeles to two victories over the Atlanta Hawks and the Charlotte Hornets. He averaged 45.0 points, 10.5 boards and 7.5 assists on 64/36/75 shooting splits over those two games after not having a single 40-point game all season beforehand.

The Lakers lost five of their previous six before this most recent stretch — including a 112-98 loss to Miami on Dec. 28 — but maybe that’s what it will ultimately take for the Lakers to win without Anthony Davis. Though that’s even more of an indictment on the personnel, and we all know James has not been to fond with their play of late, which he made very clear after their loss against the Heat.

Can Miami, now two games above .500 for the first time all season, re-write a similar script and keep their momentum going? Only time will tell!

INACTIVE/INJURIES:

MIAMI:

  • Dewayne Dedmon (foot) — QUESTIONABLE
  • Udonis Haslem (achilles) — QUESTIONABLE
  • Nikola Jovic (back) — OUT
  • Caleb Martin (quad) — PROBABLE
  • Duncan Robinson (hamstring) — QUESTIONABLE
  • Gabe Vincent (knee) — PROBABLE
  • Omer Yurtseven (ankle) — OUT

LOS ANGELES:

  • Anthony Davis (foot) — OUT
  • LeBron James (ankle) — QUESTIONABLE
  • Scotty Pippen Jr. (G-League) — OUT
  • Cole Swider (G-League) — OUT
  • Lonnie Walker IV (knee) — QUESTIONABLE
  • Russell Westbrook (foot) — PROBABLE

PROJECTED STARTING 5:

Projected Starters (at time of publishing):

KNICKS: HEAT:
KNICKS: HEAT:
Jalen Brunson G Kyle Lowry
Quentin Grimes G Tyler Herro
RJ Barrett F Jimmy Butler
Julius Randle F Caleb Martin
Jericho Sims C Bam Adebayo

BROADCAST INFO:

Tipoff: 10:00 PM EST

TV: ESPN, Bally Sports Sun

RADIO: The Ticket 790AM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson, Ruth Riley Hunter)

SPANISH RADIO: WAQI 710AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda, Joe Pujala)

Come back to Hot Hot Hoops at game time to join our GameThread and chat about the game live with other Heat fans!