Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Preview, Analysis and Predictions

The two-time defending champion Miami Heat will travel to the Staples Center to take on the injury-depleted Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas day.

While this game simply does not carry the same cachet without Kobe Bryant, it's still Heat-Lakers, and therefore, it remains must-watch basketball as two of the league's most popular franchises go head to head.

Miami comes into this contest looking to extend its current winning streak to six games, while Los Angeles will try to snap a two-game losing skid.

Let's break this one down.


Date: Dec. 25

Time: 5 p.m. ET


Venue: Staples Center


Lakers Injury Report (per ESPN)

Kobe Bryant (tibia): Out

Steve Nash (back): Out

Steve Blake (elbow): Out

Jordan Farmar (hamstring): Cleared to play (per the Lakers' official Twitter account)


Heat Injury Report (per ESPN)

No injuries.


Heat Player to Watch: Michael Beasley

Who would have thought that Michael Beasley would be enjoying such a solid season with Miami after being cast off from the Phoenix Suns?

The young forward is averaging 11.3 points per game off the bench while shooting 53.5 percent from the floor, nearly nine percentage points above his career percentage. He has scored in double figures in eight of his 15 appearances.

Beasley had missed seven straight games with a bad hamstring going into the Heat's Monday night matchup with the Atlanta Hawks, but he returned to the tune of 10 points and seven rebounds.

With the Lakers lacking depth right now due to injuries, Beasley could play a pivotal role off the pine for Miami. It will be hard enough for LA to defend the Heat's starting five. If Beasley can come in and provide some pop with guys like Ray All...

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