Los Angeles Lakers at Miami Heat (-11.5, 200.5 o/u)
The Miami Heat (4-3, 3-1 Home) will try to win two straight for the first time this season when they host a struggling Kobe Bryant and his equally struggling Los Angeles Lakers (1-5, 1-2 Away) tonight at American Airlines Arena (7:30 PM Eastern).
Miami has alternated wins and losses all season, but looked impressive last time out, dominating the Atlantic-division leading Raptors, 96-76. Chris Bosh, a former Raptors himself, had his best game of the season, scoring 23 points on 8 of 14 shooting and snatching eight board. Center Hassan Whiteside, who is becoming a force in the paint, chipped in nicely with 11 rebounds of his own and the Heat used a big second half to pull away, outscoring Toronto 52-29 in the final 24 minutes.
“That was really inspiring basketball in the second half,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told the Associated Press. “I think the second unit really sparked the energy of the entire team, and everybody fed off that defensive energy.”
The Heat aren’t scoring a lot in the early going, averaging just 96.6 points per game (25th in the NBA). But the offense has a nice balance to it so far; Dwyane Wade leads the team with 18.9 points per game, but Chris Bosh, Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic, and Gerald Green all averaging in double-figures, as well.
The Heat have also proven to be one of the best defensive units in the league, holding opponents to 90.4 points per game (second only to Utah). That will make for a serious contrast in styles with the Lakers coming to town. Despite Bryant’s issues (16.5 PPG on 32-percent shooting), the team is still averaging 104 points per night, which is top-five in the association. Of course, when you surrender over 110, you’re not going to win many games.
The Lakers actually put in a half-decent defensive effort last time out against Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks, but the offense dried up at the wrong time and LA fell 99-96 at MSG.
The LA Lakers are just 2-4 ATS on the year, but 2-1 against the number on the road. The Heat’s ATS home record matches their straight-up record (a solid 3-1), and they’ve also won five straight against the Lakers in Miami. But 11.5 points is too many for a Heat team that struggles to score.
Pick: Lakers +11.5.
(Photo credit: Keith Allison (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)