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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

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
LEH 4
DUR 7
 
7:05pm Tonight
LEH
DUR
 
Final
CLE 2
KAN 6
Final
BOS 6
TOR 5
7:05pm Monday
BAL 0
CWS 0
Final
NYY 4
TAM 1
Final
CIN 9
MIL 6
Final
MIA 1
NYM 3
Final
ATL 8
WAS 4
Final
CHC 4
PIT 0
Final
TEX 1
SEA 3
Final
MIN 4
DET 5
Final
STL 1
PHI 4
Final
ARI 4
COL 5
Final
SDP 4
HOU 9
Final
LOS 8
SFG 3
6:10pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
 
6:10pm Tonight
BOS
TOR
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
CWS
 
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
TAM
 
7:10pm Tonight
CIN
MIL
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
NYM
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
WAS
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
PIT
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
SEA
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
DET
 
8:15pm Tonight
STL
PHI
 
9:40pm Tonight
ARI
COL
 
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
ANA
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
HOU
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
SFG
 
Final
BRK 120
ATL 115
Final
CHI 88
MIL 94
Final
POR 99
MEM 92
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
DAL
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
SAN
 
Final
DET 2
TAM 5
Final
WAS 2
NYI 1
Final
LEH 4
DUR 7
 
7:05pm Tonight
LEH
DUR