Los Angeles Lakers Favored By Two Over Miami Heat on Christmas

The NBA is dishing out big time matchups this Christmas Day, but none is bigger than the game between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center. While both teams are playing off the hype of this game, there is no question that they are going to bring their best in this one. Tip-off is set for 5:00 ET on ABC. Our NBA spreads have the Lakers favored by two points over the Heat, with the total sitting at 196.

Miami really struggled out of the gate, going just 9-8 in their first 17 games, but have been on an absolute tear since that point, winning 13 of their last 14 games, including a 95-83 win over Phoenix on Thursday. They have had some trouble against the top teams out of both conferences. Miami is just 5-6 against teams who currently have a winning record, and are 0-4 against the Celtics and Mavericks, the two best teams they have faced this season.

The Lakers got off to a great start, going 13-2 in their first 15 games, but haven't looked all that good lately. Los Angeles is just 9-6 since that point, and is coming off an embarrassing 98-79 loss at home to Milwaukee on Tuesday. The Lakers did win five straight before losing to the Bucks, and are 4-1 since Andrew Bynum returned from injury.

Miami was without Dwyane Wade on Thursday, as he sat out with a knee problem, but he is expected to be ready to go for this one. Wade has really played well during the Heat's recent surge, averaging 26 points a game in December. LeBron James and Chris Bosh have also been playing much better. James is also averaging 26 points in December but has been lights-out lately, scoring at least 30 points in three of his last four games.

Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol haven't exactly been themselves lately. Bryant hasn't scored more than 21 points in the Lakers' last three games, while Gasol has topped 20 points just three times in 11 December games. Bryant could be in for a long day with James and Wade likely taking turns gu...

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