MATCHUP AT A GLANCE
When: Friday, November 8th, 10:30 pm EST
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Point Spread: Lakers(-8)
Betting Total: 218.5
A couple of NBA powerhouses will do battle tonight, as the Miami Heat take their talents to Los Angeles to play the Lakers. The 6-2 Miami Heat have been somewhat of a surprise to the NBA.
While nobody predicted they wouldn’t be very good, it was hard to predict their scorching start. Everyone seemed to predict the 6-1 Lakers hot start, the combination of LeBron James and Anthony Davis has been difficult for teams to overcome.
The Lakers are coming off of a 6 point victory over the Bulls. A game in which the Lakers didn’t have a lead until the fourth quarter when the Lakers second unit was finally able to get on a roll.
The Heat are coming off of a big win against the 5-3 Suns, one that they needed after being blown out in Denver against the Nuggets on Tuesday. Both teams look to continue their hot starts, but only one can come out victorious as they both look to lead their respective conferences.
It’s Always Sunny in South Beach
Heat legend Dwayne Wade finally called it quits last season after 16 seasons in the NBA. Without Wade as their on court leader, the Heat looked to add some talent and leadership this offseason, and that they did by bringing in free agent combo guard and forward, Jimmy Butler.
Butler has certainly made an entrance in Miami, as he leads the team in scoring, assists, and is averaging an astounding 3 steals per game. Butler is amongst a handful of two-way players in the league that can actually play both ends of the floor extremely well. While Butler’s defense has helped Miami immensely, they still only rank 16th in league, giving up over 106 points per game.
The departure of 7 footer, Hassan Whiteside, has clearly affected Miami’s ability to score in the paint, as well as, hindering their ability to keep teams out of the paint.
Former first rounder, Bam Adebayo, looks to slow the bleeding from the paint, as the big man leads the team in blocks. Former Fighting Illini players Kendrick Nunn and Meyers Leonard have also stepped up their game this year, as the two have started all 8 games for Miami. Nunn is behind only Butler and Adebayo in steals, averaging 1.5 per game.
It’s been a hot minute since the Lakers have made much of a splash in the NBA. Acquiring superstars like Lebron James and Anthony Davis the past 2 seasons should help to change that.
James and Davis are both averaging over 26 points per game, and the addiction of Davis has helped Lebrons assist numbers skyrocket as well. Lebron is averaging over 11 per game so far this season, leading the NBA.
The addition of Davis alone should be enough to propel the Lakers deep into the playoffs. Davis leads the league in blocks, and can’t be contained on the offensive end of the floor.
His length combined with his shooting ability is a problem to say the least. Davis also ranks in the top 10 in rebounds, bringing in 11 per game.
The Lakers not only lead the league in three point percentage, shooting over 40% from deep, they also lead the league in three point percentage allowed, as opponents are only shooting 28% from beyond the arc.
Unfortunately for them, teams have been able to get to the charity stripe with ease this season, as they allow the 5th most free throws in the league. An area they need to improve moving forward.
Friday Night Lights
This Friday night battle is set to be a good one from LA and should be a good barometer for both teams. Let’s see just how good they are against a playoff contending opponent.
That being said, MyBookie has the spread in favor of LA, with 8 points to cover. 8 points is a lot to cover for any team in the league, even one anchored by Lebron James.
The Lakers are 5-2 against the spread this season, but they are 3-0 at home. The Heat are 6-1-1 against the spread this season, and 3-1-1 on the road.
The teams are a combined 7-8 against the under this season, as they both tend to score in bunches. The pick here is the Heat. Whether the Lakers win or lose, look for this game to be a very close shootout.