The Heat will continue their West Coast road trip and visit the Lakers tonight. This will be the second time that these two play each other this season with the Heat winning the first game 108-107 back on November 6th. The Heat have gone 1-2 to start their road trip and are coming off of a blowout loss to the Clippers on Monday. Luckily they will be playing in the same building tonight but the Lakers come in favored in this matchup despite losing 3 of their last 4. Let's get into our Heat vs Lakers pick and NBA picks for 1/3/24.
The Miami Heat, with a record of 19-14, have been facing challenges due to the absence of key player Jimmy Butler, who is out with a foot issue. Their performance has been inconsistent recently, as evidenced by their recent 17-point loss to the Clippers.
Despite their struggles, Miami's defense remains a strong point, especially against teams taking shots within the perimeter. However, their vulnerability at the rim and in defending 3-point shots could be a concern.
Los Angeles Lakers:
The Lakers, standing at 17-17, have had their own share of struggles, dropping seven of their last nine games. LeBron James, despite playing through flu-like symptoms, has been leading the team with an average of 25.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game, alongside Anthony Davis who averages 25.0 points and 12.3 rebounds per game.
The Lakers' defense ranks 9th in the league, which could be crucial in this matchup. They are also dealing with injuries, with players like D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura listed as questionable.
The Lakers are currently favored by 5.5 points. Their preference for playing at a fast pace and attacking the rim might give them an edge, especially against the Heat's weaker rim defense.
The total for the game is set at 228.5, but given the defensive capabilities of both teams, it might be a lower-scoring affair than expected. The prediction leans towards the under on the total points.
Overall, the Lakers, especially if LeBron James plays, will have the advantage due to their home court and the Heat's recent struggles without Butler.
Lakers 111 Heat 103