Preview: Lakers look to bounce back against Heat

Hassan Whiteside will likely not play due to an injury.

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After a narrow loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday, the Lakers will have a quick turnaround, hosting the Miami Heat on a back-to-back. This will be the second and final matchup between the two teams with the first ending in a win for Miami after a Lakers’ blown lead.

The Heat will be without second-year forward Justise Winslow who suffered a torn labrum and will miss the rest of the season. A big blow to the Heat, this loss should make things a lot easier for the Lakers offensively. Winslow is Miami’s best perimeter defender and who they would put on the Lakers’ best player in crunch time. Additionally, he was an offensive force in the first match between the two teams.

The Heat are a fairly one-dimensional team offensively with the pick-and-roll between Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside being their best option. Nevertheless, that combination gave the Lakers fits last time and Whiteside was able to dominate the game against Timofey Mozgov after the first quarter.

The Lakers may need to match Whiteside’s athleticism with their own especially as the Thomas Robinson and Tarik Black frontcourt duo shows promise. Mozgov played only 11 minutes in the loss to Portland and could be looking at a similarly light load based on the difficult matchup.

Offensively, the Lakers should be fine as they have been most of the year. However, if the game comes to the dying seconds as it did on Thursday, they will need a better mentality to close the game out. On paper, the Lakers may be the better team but they will need to take better shots and execute much better in the fourth quarter in order to pull out what is a very winnable game.

Tip-off is at 7:30 PM PST on Spectrum Sportsnet.

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