“Old and Slow” Lakers May Have Just Enough to Beat Miami

As bad as the Lakers have been (despite their two-game winning streak) with the return of first Deee-Wight Howard and tonight also Pau Gasol, and despite their awful bench and horrible team defense, they just might have the right strengths to beat LeBum and the Miami Heat this evening at Staples.

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While Miami is the best-shooting team in the NBA. leading the league in both field goal percentage and three-point shooting pct., they are a poor rebounding team, especially on the offensive boards. Their lack of height and strength up front will be major liabilities against the Lakers’ front line dominance in size and power. There is no way that Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem, each at 235, can handle Howard and Gasol, plus the Lakers now have an extra ten minutes per game available from a third seven-footer in Robert Sacre. Also, while the glitter has now fallen off Earl Clark as his numbers decline game after game, he is still yet another big guy who can pound and pull down boards.

This is, though, a game where Antawn Jamison and his defense-avoidance system need to remain on the bench.

And now, as I am writing this, I see that Miami has recalled 275-pound, seven-footer Dexter Pittman from the D-League in time for tonight’s game. He should be a big help with his lifetime 2.8 point and 2.0 rebound per game stats, though he likely will be used to put Deee-Wight at the free-throw line a few times.

Miami has been on a streak almost as bad as the Laker’s season has been. They had lost three of four to bring their season road record to 8-9 and only managed to get back to .500 with a road win last night at Golden State due to the absence of Stephen Curry. Miami thinks that win was absolutely wonderful, just as the Lakers’ did last month with a win in Philadelphia, who played without Jrue Holiday. Note how the 76ers easily beat the Lakers in a rematch a couple of weeks later when Holiday was back in the lineup.

So, tonight will be the battle of struggling titans of the NBA. And with all the great shooters, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, etc. and all the pounding that will be going on underneath, this game could well be decided at the free throw line. Lakers win if Howard shoots over 55% at the line. Under that, Miami wins.

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