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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, January 23rd (All times Eastern)

Los Angeles Lakers (16-26) at Miami Heat (30-12), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - When the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers used to play, it was must-see TV.

Nowadays, it's not quite the same.

Yes, there will still be anticipation Thursday night when the Lakers visit the two-time defending NBA champs, but the matchup has lost some of its cache.

Kobe Bryant is not in the lineup for the Lakers, battling a broken bone in his knee. He's scheduled for further evaluation when LA gets home after this seven-game road trip, where it is 2-2 so far.

Even Steve Nash is gone and before the rash of injuries last season, the Lakers weren't the same old Lakers.

The Heat have been fine, but not great of late.

They've won three of four, but lost four of seven and their 93-86 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday showed some signs of greatness, but also some signs of fatigue.

The Heat led by as many as 18 in the first half, but trailed by two in the fourth quarter before LeBron James netted seven of the game's last nine points.

James scored 11 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and also grabbed eight boards and dished out four assists for Miami, which was coming off a 2-4 road trip.

"Versus a team like this they're going to bring a lot of energy and effort and you have to match that," James said. "We were ready for anything tonight."

Dwyane Wade got the night off and Chris Bosh (16) and Chris Anderson (13) were the Heat's only other double-figure scorers besides James.

Miami shot 51.4 percent from the field and held Boston under 40 percent.

The Lakers had a two-game winning streak snapped in Chicago on Monday night. They fell 102-100 in overtime as they are out on their long Grammy trip, which still has stops in Orlando and New York.

Taj Gibson had less than a second to get a shot off and barely beat the overtime buzzer with a layup off an inbounds pass from Mike Dunleavy.

"I was looking at the backboard hoping it would go red before it left his hand," hoped Nick Young.

Young became the first Lakers player to eclipse the 30-point mark this season, but his 31 weren't enough to earn Los Angeles a third straight win. Pau Gasol finished with 20 points, 19 boards and five blocks in the setback.

Jodie Meeks added 16 points and Ryan Kelly chipped in 13.

The Heat beat the Lakers on Christmas Day at the Staples Center and have won three in a row in this series. LA has dropped five in a row in South Beach and its last victory in Miami came on Feb. 10, 2008.

01/23 10:31:14 ET

Other Stories

TV
  • NFL: NY Giants at Washington

    Thursday at 8:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: Western Michigan at Virginia Tech

    Saturday at 12:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Arkansas at Texas A&M

    Saturday at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

Scoreboard
Local
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
CAR
 
Final
NYY 5
BAL 0
Final
CLE 0
KAN 2
Final
TOR 14
SEA 4
Final
DET 0
CWS 2
Final
ATL 0
PIT 1
Final
TEX 4
HOU 3
Final
CHC 0
STL 8
Final
MIN 2
ARI 6
Final
OAK 8
ANA 4
Final
SDP 1
COL 0
Final
LOS 2
SFG 5
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
BAL
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
NYM
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
SEA
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
CIN
MIL
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
PHI
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
PIT
 
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
TAM
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
HOU
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
STL
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
ARI
 
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
ANA
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
COL
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
SFG
 
Final
NYI 3
OTT 2
 
6:00pm Monday
NYI
OTT
 
Final
PIT 1
DET 2
Final
NYR 4
NJD 5
Final
PHI 2
TOR 3
 
Final
PHI 5
WAS 4
Final
WIN 2
MIN 1
Final
DAL 4
STL 3
Final
COL 2
ANA 5
Final
ANA 4
COL 0
Final
ARI 5
LOS 4
Final
LOS 4
ARI 3
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
CAR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
PIT
 
7:30pm Tonight
MON
BOS
 
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
NAS
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
PHI
 
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
DET
 
9:00pm Tonight
VAN
SJS
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
ARI
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
VAN
 
Final
NYJ 19
CHI 27