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Lakers vs. Heat Preview: Bounce back game

The Lakers are well aware that they need to play better, but will they translate words into action?

Miami Heat v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

After dropping their first game of the road trip to the Orlando Magic, the Lakers will head to South Beach where they look to bounce back against the Miami Heat on Monday. This will be a battle between two teams who have had slow starts to their season, as they could really use this victory to gain momentum and get themselves back on track.

Start time and TV schedule

Who: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Miami Heat

When: 4:30 p.m. PT, Monday, Nov. 6.

Where: Kaseya Center

Watch: NBA TV, Spectrum Sportsnet

A big reason why the Lakers have split their first six games to start the season is because they haven’t been healthy, particularly their role players. Saturday’s loss to the Magic was the second straight game where Los Angeles had no choice but to run with an eight-man rotation and, this time, it caught up to them.

I wrote in my last preview that if the Lakers want to beat Orlando, they can’t give up 20-second opportunity points and allow themselves to get out-rebounded again like they did in their first tilt. Unfortunately, L.A. doubled down and not only lost the rebounding battle by a large margin (51-40) but also gave up 36(!) second-chance points.

These pie charts below pretty much sum up why the Lakers dropped their third game of the season. And why a frustrated Darvin Ham couldn’t help but call out the team’s lack of effort on the glass last Sunday:

In fairness to the Lakers, it’s hard to win games with an undermanned rotation, especially on the road. But it’s also fair to say that they’re not really helping themselves succeed.

Six games into the season, the purple and gold lead the league in second-chance points allowed (19.5), are 18th in fast break points allowed (17.8) and eighth in total points allowed.

The Lakers’ slow starts every game, poor rebounding performances and lack of defensive effort in spurts have developed into early bad habits that need to be addressed ASAP as they continue to progress through the season. Whether that’s by getting their role players back in the rotation or simply performing better, the Lakers need to make reinforcements.

At the very least though, the team is well-aware that they have to work on their flaws and do a better job controlling what they can control.

It’s disappointing losses like this that’s considered frustrating because it affects the team’s overall record but just like what Reaves implied, it’s an opportunity to learn from moving forward. After all, it’s better that these problems come up now rather than down the road. That’s why, moving forward, it’s important to track the Lakers’ progress in correcting their mistakes and that starts in their match against the Heat on Monday.

How will the Lakers respond?

There’s no doubt that the Lakers’ opponents are already well aware of their early weaknesses. That’s most likely going to be in their competitor’s scouting report every game (at least for now) and for sure an aspect that Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra will attempt to take advantage of on Monday. The blueprint on how to expose the Lakers is already out there.

It’ll be up to the team to counter those and correct their mistakes. On Monday, let’s see if the Lakers can put a stop to their developing trend of starting games slow, their rebounding issues and lackluster defensive effort.

Will Darvin Ham impose new lineups or even schemes to address these weaknesses? The team said that they have to be better but can they translate their words into action? How will the Lakers respond?

On top of all of that, facing this Heat team won’t be a walk in the park either. They may have lost four of their first six games and are currently having trouble scoring the basketball but it’s always tough to play them on their home floor.

We’ll see how the Lakers respond and approach this opportunity to bounce back against the Heat on Monday.

Notes and Updates:

  • The Heat (2-4) are also coming off a feel-good victory against the Wizards last Friday. They have the rest advantage for this one as they’ve had two days off. The Lakers have to watch out for Tyler Herro, who is off to a superb start to the season, averaging 25.8 points and five assists on 45.1% 3-point shooting. Jimmy Butler hasn’t really made much noise yet this season but he's one that’s always worth looking out for.
  • Another interesting matchup to look out for is the battle between Anthony Davis and Bam Adebayo, two of the best defenders in the league. AD and the rest of the Lakers bigs will have their hands full against Adebayo, who has been averaging a productive 21.4 points a game to start the season.
  • For the Lakers’ injury report, Jarred Vanderbilt (left heel bursitis), Jalen Hood-Schifino (right patella contusion) remain out. Taurean Prince is set to return after dealing with a knee injury while Rui Hachimura (concussion) will miss his fourth straight game.
  • As for the Heat, Caleb Martin (knee) won’t be suiting up. Jimmy Butler is listed as probable with right knee tendinitis and RJ Hampton is questionable with a non-COVID illness.

You can follow Nicole on Twitter at @nicoleganglani

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