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Lakers vs. Heat Preview: Will L.A.’s defense be enough against Miami?

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The Lakers can compete with the Heat on the defensive end, but they might have a hard time getting their offense off of the ground.

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Miami Heat v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

If we’re to believe Andre Drummond’s Instagram posts, he’ll be active when the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Miami Heat on Thursday, and if that holds true, he’ll also start at center.

The Lakers have played the Heat once already this season and they played them in the NBA Finals last season, so they’re pretty familiar with Miami. Drummond, on the other hand, was inactive for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ only game against the Heat this season, so it will be his first time playing against Miami this season.

In theory, Drummond’s size will be an advantage for the Lakers because the Heat’s starting center, Bam Adebayo, is considerably smaller than Drummond, but in practice, that likely won’t be the case. Not only is Drummond not a particularly efficient scorer in the post, but Adebayo is an elite defender. In Drummond’s last meeting with Adebayo, he scored 13 points on 5-13 shooting from the field.

Drummond won’t be the only player on the Lakers that will have a hard time scoring the ball, though. Despite their slow start, the Heat are slowly re-establishing themselves as one of the premier defensive teams in the NBA. The Lakers are a stout defensive team, too, but their offense has mostly negated that in the games they’ve played without LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Here’s to hoping Ben McLemore makes a strong first impression.

The Lakers and Heat will tip-off at 4:30 p.m. PT and the game will be broadcast on TNT.

Notes and Updates

  • Anthony Davis (right calf strain), Jared Dudley (right MCL tear) and LeBron James (right ankle sprain) are out. Andre Drummond (right big toe contusion) and Kyle Kuzma (left calf strain) are probable.
  • Ben McLemore, who signed his contract with the Lakers on Tuesday, is expected to be available on Thursday.

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