It’s a new year of basketball, but the Lakers aren’t starting fresh. They are currently 17-17 and the mediocrity hasn’t just been felt with their record but with their up-and-down performances throughout the season. Yes, there have been injuries and a tough December schedule didn’t help, but things need to improve for the Lakers if they want to be contenders.
That turnaround begins Wednesday as the Lakers play the Miami Heat at home.
Start time and TV schedule
Who: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Miami Heat
When: 7:00 p.m. PT, Jan. 3
Where: Crypto.com Arena
It begins with the starters for the Lakers. Who will Darvin Ham go with? In two of the last three games, Ham has gone with Anthony Davis, Taurean Prince, Rui Hachimura, Jarred Vanderbilt and LeBron James.
However, with Hachimura ruled out for Wednesday’s game, that lineup will have to change. Austin Reaves seems like a good candidate to take that spot, especially after he started in Rui’s place in the second half against the Pelicans. He’s leading the bench in points at 15.1 per night and just came off a 20-point performance in New Orleans.
Miami presents an interesting matchup for Los Angeles. Reaching the NBA Finals last year, they’re clearly talented and have a couple of stars with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
Injuries have hurt their depth, with Butler, Caleb Martin and Josh Richardson all missing the Monday matchup against the Clippers, resulting in the Heat losing 121-104 and Erik Spoelstra only going eight players deep.
The Lakers aren’t much healthier themselves, with D’Angelo Russell doubtful to play and other key Lakers banged up, but with LeBron James and Anthony Davis likely to play, the Lakers are still the better team. They need to start this homestand with a victory.
Notes and Updates
- For the Lakers, Davis (left ankle sprain/bone bruise) and Cam Reddish (left groin soreness) are probable, James (non-COVID illness) is questionable, Russell (left groin soreness) is doubtful and Gabe Vincent (left knee surgery) and Hachimura (left calf strain) are out.
- For the Heat, Richardson (left back facet syndrome) is questionable and Martin (right ankle sprain) is doubtful. Haywood Highsmith (concussion protocol), Butler (right foot irritation) and Dru Smith (right knee surgery) are all out.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.