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Lakers vs. Heat Game Preview: Lakers try to survive life without power forwards

No Larry Nance, Jr. and no Julius Randle in Miami? Not good, Lakeshow.

NBA: Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers suffered an embarrassing collapse in Charlotte and will take their talents to South Beach Thursday afternoon to hopefully right some of those wrongs against the Miami Heat. The Heat will be celebrating their short stint with Shaquille O’Neal — one that amounted to a championship — by retiring his jersey.

Bad news continues to rain on the Lakers’ mini-parade, with Larry Nance, Jr. falling as the latest victim. He suffered a bone bruise in Charlotte which will sideline him indefinitely, hitting the Lakers where it’s counted most all season: square in the bench. Julius Randle has been increasingly productive as the season rolls on but will also be out against the Heat. He’s excused for the night as he heads back to Los Angeles to be with his fiancee during the birth of their son.

Randle could also miss Friday against the Orlando Magic. Playing without their two leading power forwards won’t be easy for the Lakers, who can’t seem to line up a stretch as steady as their first 20 games. Expect to see Luol Deng and Thomas Robinson get some extended play at the four.

The one-two punch of Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside won’t make things any easier on the Lakers, who struggle to protect the paint and rebound most nights. Whiteside has been a monster, averaging 18.1 points, 14.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.

There are just two games left on the Lakers’ grueling road trip, who definitely could use some ruby slippers right about now. Enjoy the game, which is at least an excuse to stay in doors on rainy Thursday afternoon in Southern California.

Time: 5 p.m. PT

TV: NBA TV, Spectrum SportsNet

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