Three Things to Know: Lakers vs. Heat - 11/10/21

Three Things to Know: Lakers vs. Heat - 11/10/21

by Mike Trudell
Lakers Reporter

The Lakers (6-5) host Miami (7-3) on Wednesday evening at Staples Center, with a 7:00 p.m. tip on Spectrum SportsNet.

Below are three things to know about the matchup:

FORMER LAKER CHAMP HAS INJURY SCARE
During L.A.’s Monday night win against Charlotte, Miami was playing at Denver, and 2020 title winner with the Lakers, Markieff Morris, took a cheap shot in the back from Nikola Jokic, leaving him in pain on the floor for several minutes. Thankfully, Morris was able to get up under his own power, eventually, and walk towards the locker room.

With Denver up comfortably and just under three minutes to play, Morris took a hard foul on Jokic, then turned around to walk towards his hoop. Jokic ran towards Morris, and elbowed him in the middle of the upper back, with the force of his body behind the blow. Jokic was suspended for one game, and Morris fined $50,000, while being ruled out for Wednesday’s matchup.

Miami is otherwise much healthier than the Lakers, with their starting lineup and key bench pieces intact, as LAL continue to await the return of LeBron James, and the season debuts for Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn and Trevor Ariza.

HINTS AT A SMALL BALL FUTURE
Prior to the Charlotte game, Frank Vogel suggested that he and his coaching staff have considered moving Anthony Davis to the center as their starting and (most) regular lineup, but had opted against it due in part to the absence of both LeBron and Ariza.

“We got to play better, and sometimes that means shifting the lineup, and sometimes that means just playing better,” he said. “There was a temptation to start tonight with AD at the five, for offensive spacing reasons, but we’re really thin with LeBron and Trevor being out, and having Carmelo with such great energy off the bench at home, I don’t want to break that rhythm.”

For the long term, perhaps there’s a hint there that we’ll see Davis at the five moving forward even more than we have to start the season, though he has played plenty of minutes in the middle. While playing small even without LeBron or Ariza back can be beneficial on offense for sure, the coaching staff may be concerned that the Lakers are too small on the back side of the defense without the aforementioned big wings there to help Davis.

’MELO’S FLAME THROWING
When the Lakers signed Carmelo Anthony, his ability as a catch-and-shoot player was obvious, and both Rob Pelinka and Frank Vogel shared their excitement about the looks he’d get, at 6’7’’, next to L.A.’s stars. Of course, they didn’t expect him to rank third in the NBA in 3-point makes through 11 games.

In Staples Center, where there’s a buzz every time he walks to the scorer’s table in the first quarter, he’s been NBA JAM “En fuego!” literally all season. After converting 7 of 10 triples towards 29 points, ‘Melo has hit 38 of the 59 3’s he’s attempted in eight home games, good for a 64.4 percent clip. In three road games, in contrast, he’s just 1 for 16. The good news for the Lakers at the moment: the next four games are at home.

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