Miami Heat Look To Stay Hot, Host Los Angeles Lakers
Joe Skipper- AP Photo

Miami Heat Look To Stay Hot, Host Los Angeles Lakers

After lighting up one of the better teams in the NBA, the Toronto Raptors, the Heat look to keep it up and take down a struggling Lakers team.

Connor Deitrich

The Miami Heat have been off to a decent start so far in their 2015-2016 campaign. They have some good wins against quality teams, including a recent 20-point blowout of a very good Toronto Raptors team. It has been the very stout defense of Miami that has gotten the job done so far this year, ranking second in the league in opponent's points per game and sixth in defensive rating.

Hassan Whiteside is definitely the guy to thank for the success to this point. He leads the league in every category involving blocks - total blocks, blocks per game, and block percentage. He is also second in the league in defensive win shares. His matchup for the game, Roy Hibbert, has had a terrible year on the offensive side of the floor. Whiteside's defensive numbers will probably be looking sharp after this game. 

The Los Angeles Lakers have been having a decent year in terms of offense. Their defense, on the other hand, has been absolutely dreadful. They rank 28th in the league in opponent's points per game, and 29th in defensive rating. Los Angeles will likely have a difficult  time matching up with Whiteside, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade, all of whom have had wonderful seasons on the offensive side of the floor so far. 

One asset of this Miami team that has stood out, particularly in the game against Toronto, has been the bench. There isn't an insane amount of offense on the bench (though there will be when Gerald Green returns from his absence). Even in the absence of Green, the bench has been doing alright, thanks in large part to their hustle. The first name that comes to mind is rookie Justise Winslow, who has played phenomenal, especially on the defensive side of the ball. He could play a big role in guarding one of the Lakers' talented offensive players, whether it be Lou Williams, Nick YoungJordan Clarkson, or even Kobe Bryant. 

The other main bench player for Miami is Tyler Johnson, a player who is really starting to become a fan favorite. He does a lot for this team in terms of hustle, whether it be tips that lead to offensive rebounds, hustling back to stop fast breaks, or playing solid perimeter defense. He, along with Winslow, could see increased minutes in this game against the Lakers. Goran Dragic and Wade, as well as Luol Deng, could likely tire quickly from guarding some of those talented perimeter players aforementioned. If they do get called on, expect them to keep up the great job that they have been doing.

Overall, this matchup plays heavily into the favor of Miami. The Lakers just don't have enough of efficient scoring to make up for their lackluster defense. Sure, they have some talent, but that talent doesn't always do things in an efficient manner. They have only been shooting 40 percent on the year, and that is right around what Miami's opponents shoot. Expect Miami's big three to have big games in a convincing victory.