(Photo By: Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)
Lakers at Heat: 3 Things to Know (3/1/18)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers hit Miami for a clash with the Heat.
1) Offense has found its groove
The Lakers’ offense has been scorching over their last six games, averaging a whopping 118.5 points while hitting exactly half of their shots, including 40.8 percent from 3-point range.
At this point it seems like just about every player on the roster is on a hot streak.
Julius Randle is leading the charge during this surge, bulldozing his way to 19.7 points on a hyper-efficient 61.7 percent clip, while also racking up 9.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists.
Brandon Ingram continues to excel running point, averaging 18.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists in this stretch, while sinking shots from all over the floor — 53.6 percent from the field, including 6-of-13 on 3-pointers.
Meanwhile, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has done work on the scoreboard and the boards — averaging 15.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.2 3-pointers while hitting over half his shots both from the field and 3-point range.
Plus, Lonzo Ball has thrived in limited minutes during his two games back from injury, while Ivica Zubac has made an eye-popping 25 of his last 30 shots.
It all crescendoed in Monday’s win over Atlanta, as nine Lakers scored in double figures for the first time in 31 years.
2) Lakers are suddenly thin on the wing
The Lakers took a huge hit at the small forward position at Wednesday’s practice, when breakout rookie Josh Hart fractured the fourth metacarpal of his left hand, sidelining him for a yet undetermined amount of time.
Hart had been playing his best ball of the season since being inserted to the starting lineup 10 games ago, putting up 12.2 points and 7.4 rebounds while shooting 51.8 percent and 48.9 from deep.
The Lakers will certainly missed Hart’s blend of 3-point shooting, defense and rebounding, and will need to get creative with the lineup considering that they also waived backup Corey Brewer on Wednesday.
Ingram is the lone small forward left in the rotation, meaning he will see less time at point in order to fill the minutes left over by Hart and Brewer. Coach Luke Walton has already begun this process by returning Ball to the starting point guard spot.
Other options include trotting out a three-guard lineup with Caldwell-Pope at the three, or experiment with having Kyle Kuzma play down a position.
3) Wade just had his sports-movie moment
The Heat are coming off one of the most emotional wins of any team this season.
Trailing Philadelphia by one on Tuesday, Dwyane Wade rose up for a step-back jumper to steal the win.
What made it so special was that, earlier that day, Wade had dedicated the rest of his season to Parkland victim Joaquin Oliver, whose name he had written on his shoes.
Wade later told reporters that, “It was like we was playing with angels in the outfield.”
Dwyane Wade opened up about Tuesday night's emotional win over the 76ers. pic.twitter.com/OxmfeZ0kdW— ESPN (@espn) March 1, 2018
Wade is coming off his best game since returning to the Heat, having scored 27 points in that win over Philly.
Miami boasts the NBA’s seventh-ranked defense and loves to slow down the pace, which could mean trouble for the speedy Lakers.
Plus they have a bevy of across-the-roster talent, including All-Star point guard Goran Dragic and one-man stats factory Hassan Whiteside.
Lakers: Josh Hart (left hand fourth metacarpal fracture) and Channing Frye (appendectomy) are out.
Heat: Dion Waiters (left ankle) is out. Wayne Ellington (quad) is doubtful. Tyler Johnson (left quad) is questionable.
Tip-Off: 4:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW
Unis: Gold Icon
Location: AmericanAirlines Arena — Miami, Florida