Although this current five-game road trip wasn’t as terrifying as the six-game road trip the Lakers embarked on earlier this season, this one obviously has the added challenge of the team having no Anthony Davis. The Lakers were able to overcome this challenge on Tuesday, getting a win against the much-bigger Orlando Magic. The win ended a four-game losing streak.
They’ll now look to overcome that absence again on Wednesday in Miami, adding another layer of tribulation in the form of a rest disadvantage on the second night of a back-to-back against the Heat.
Here’s our preview of that matchup.
Looking up in more ways than one
This Lakers team heads into Miami with a 14-20 record, currently sitting at 13th within the Western Conference standings. They’ll try and continue and stay afloat during this time without AD, and to do so they’re going to continue to be one of the weirdest teams in the NBA in terms of the average height in their lineups.
Rob Pelinka had already constructed one of the shortest rosters in the NBA before AD’s departure, and now they don’t have his towering frame to fill 32+ minutes of time, they may be one of the smaller teams not only in the league right now, but also in NBA history.
As of the time of this preview publishing, the Miami Heat currently list Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler (in addition to others) as questionable on their injury report. Although the Heat would still have wings like Tyler Herro, Max Strus, and Caleb Martin making up a majority of their rotation, the absence of Adebayo and Butler would definitely make this matchup much more closer to equal than what we’d have on our hands if they ended up suiting up.
Sadly, it sure seems like plenty of players “miraculously” get healthy to suit up against L.A., so I wouldn’t bet money on them both missing the game.
But if they do, with the Lakers starting to get slowly and slowly more comfortable in life without AD, they could end up stealing one in Miami to get to 2-1 on the five-game road trip so far.
Notes and Updates
- For Tuesday’s game vs. the Magic, the Lakers were without Scotty Pippen Jr (G-League play), Cole Swider (G-League play), Juan Toscano-Anderson (right ankle sprain), and, of course, Anthony Davis (right foot stress injury). They have not released their injury report for Wednesday’s game against the Heat at the time of this publishing.
- Before Tuesday’s game against the Magic, JTA made it seem like he could be available for this game against the Heat, as the OC Register’s Kyle Goon reported below. However, Goon followed up with a report that Ham indicated that may not be the case.
Darvin added in pregame that JTA took a bump to the hip in a team scrimmage on his path to recovery that set him back a bit. https://t.co/flVG2kk8vK— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) December 27, 2022
- The Heat’s injury report includes the following: Caleb Martin (left ankle sprain) is probable. Jimmy Butler (right ankle sprain), Bam Adebayo (right shoulder sprain), Gabe Vincent (left knee effusion), and Udonis Haslem (right Achilles tendinosis) are all questionable. Dewayne Dedmon (left foot plantar fasciitis) and Omer Yurtseven (left ankle surgery) are out.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, Jimmy Butler (right ankle sprain) and Bam Adebayo (right shoulder sprain) are both QUESTIONABLE for the game vs. the Lakers. They both missed the Heat's game on Monday. Butler has sat out 3 of the Heat's last 6 games— Donny McHenry (@donny_mchenry) December 27, 2022
- Butler and Adebayo’s statuses will have to be monitored closer to gametime. In regards to Butler, as noted above, the questionable status does not necessarily lend credit to the idea that he could be out.
The Lakers and Heat will tip off at 4:30 p.m. PT. The game will be broadcast on NBA TV as well as Spectrum SportsNet.