Jan 21, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) and guard Russell Westbrook (0) high five against the Orlando Magic during the second quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
- The Los Angeles Lakers travel to face the Miami Heat at 6pm ET on Sunday, Jan. 23rd
- The Lakers enter the game at 23-23 overall, while the Heat come in at 29-17 on the year
- See below for the latest odds, analysis and the best bet
An inter-conference contest between two playoff teams will take place at 6pm ET on Sunday, Jan. 23rd when the Los Angeles Lakers hit the road to take on the Miami Heat at FTX Arena.
Los Angeles enters the game at 23-23 on the year and is 6-4 in its last 10 games, currently the seventh seed in the West. The Lakers are coming off of a 116-105 win over the Orlando Magic on Friday in Orlando.
Miami comes into the contest at 29-17 overall and is 6-4 in its last 10 games, sitting as the third seed in the East. The Heat most recently fell in a close 110-108 contest to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday in Atlanta.
Going into the game, the Heat are listed as four-point favorites over the Lakers.
Lakers vs Heat Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||+4 (-110)||+144||Over 216.5 (-110)|
|Miami Heat||-4 (-110)||-172||Under 216.5 (-110)|
Odds as of Jan. 22nd from FanDuel.
Lakers Lean on Small Ball while Dealing with Distractions
Drama has followed Los Angeles all season, and that has continued as of late while the Lakers go through what has been an up-and-down regular season. Most recently, Los Angeles has dealt with distractions on the court mainly surrounding Russell Westbrook and his questionable play which has resulted in him getting benched in crunch time of games.
In an attempt to shake things up with the lineup, the Lakers have leaned on playing with a small ball lineup, featuring LeBron James at center in place of Dwight Howard. That shakeup has worked well the last few games and was key in a victory in Orlando on Friday.
The lineup of Westbrook, Avery Bradley, Stanley Johnson, Trevor Ariza and James was the difference maker for the Lakers on Friday and could be a lineup featured even more moving forward. That group finished Friday’s win with a plus/minus of plus-15 which was the best performing unit during the game.
— NBA (@NBA) January 22, 2022
The Lakers will continue to have their work cut out for them in this upcoming stretch of the schedule, with Sunday’s contest in Miami being the second game of a season-long six-game road trip.
Home Sweet Home For Shorthanded Heat
At the midway point in the regular season, Miami holds one of the best records at home in the NBA, an Eastern Conference-leading home record of 15-5 overall. On the other side of Sunday’s matchup, Los Angeles has struggled on the road with a record of 8-11.
The Heat are going to have to try and rely on their high-powered offense against the Lakers, holding the third-best offensive rating in the NBA (113.1). Specifically at home, Miami has averaged 108.9 points per game while giving up 102.1 on average to opponents.
We got a Duncan kaboom in the first 15 seconds 👌 pic.twitter.com/5dmQ9cl4FJ
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 22, 2022
Unfortunately for the Heat, they have taken a step back offensively the last few games while missing a few key players for various reasons. Miami has been shorthanded with Tyler Herro (health and safety protocols), Kyle Lowry (personal reasons), Markieff Morris (reconditioning) and Victor Oladipo (knee) all missing time. That means Jimmy Butler, Ban Adebayo and Duncan Robinson will continue to be relied upon with all of those players ruled out yet again for Sunday’s game.
Finished last night’s game with 659 but it was 658 that moved him up the ladder
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 22, 2022
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Prediction and Best Bet
Sunday’s game will be the second and final matchup between Los Angeles and Miami this season, with the first game taking place Nov. 10 in Los Angeles. That back-and-forth battle saw the Lakers pull out a 120-117 overtime victory and we could see a very similar game on Sunday in Miami.
If the Heat were at full strength, they would likely be able to take this game over the Lakers. With Miami shorthanded, even at home, it could struggle against a Los Angeles team which might have figured things out and have some extra motivation right now. Don’t be shocked to see the Lakers come away with a big road win as a result.
For the best bet of the night, go with the Lakers being four-point underdogs. Los Angeles, which is 19-26-1 against the spread compared to Miami’s 27-19, is in a good spot to grab its second straight win would obviously cover that spread with a victory.
The Pick: Lakers +4 (-110)
Mitchell has over seven years of experience in journalism, marketing, communications and digital fields, having covered sports teams and leagues on all levels. He has spent more than five years covering the WNBA and NBA, among other sports. You can follow him on Twitter @M_Hansen13.