Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Lakers
When: 10:30 PM ET, Friday, January 6, 2017
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Miami), Spectrum SportsNet (Los Angeles)
PREDICTION: Lakers 105, Heat 101
LOS ANGELES — The misfortunes of the youthful Los Angeles Lakers continued Thursday night with breakdowns in the second half of a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Lakers will try to fix some of their mistakes Friday night when they face the Miami Heat at Staples Center.
The Lakers (13-26) were outscored 13-1 late in the game in a 115-109 loss to the Trail Blazers, managing just the one point in their final eight possessions.
Los Angeles built a double-digit lead in the first half but blew it in the second half to fall for the 16th time in its last 19 games.
“We gave ourselves a chance to win, and we had a lead,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “We broke down on defense a couple of times down the stretch. And we started searching out some 3s when we need to just continue to push the ball, set hard screens and dive instead of go for a home-run play.”
The Lakers were without forward Luol Deng (biceps). However, rookie Brandon Ingram replaced him and delivered a decent effort with 11 points and four rebounds in 37 minutes. Point guard D’Angelo Russell scored 22 points and guard Jordan Clarkson added 21 to lead the Lakers.
Like the Lakers, the Heat have struggled this season. However, they snapped a six-game losing streak with a 107-102 victory in their last outing at Sacramento against the Kings on Wednesday.
A slew of injuries have plagued the Heat (11-26). They lost forward Justise Winslow, who underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder on Thursday. Winslow, the club’s first-round pick in the 2015 draft, averaged 10.9 points and 5.2 rebounds in 18 games. Winslow missed 16 games earlier this season with a sore left wrist.
“I really feel for him because I know how much time he put in this summer,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra told the Miami Herald. “He’s put in as much time as anybody. I know how much it means for him to be here (with his team) and be able to make an impact.”
Center Hassan Whiteside, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder at 17.3 points and 14.3 boards per game, has been sidelined the past three games with a bruised retina in his right eye. However, Whiteside is expected to return against the Lakers.
And Heat guard Dion Waiters, who has been out for the last 19 games with a groin injury, could be back in the lineup.
In addition, guard Goran Dragic has been ailing with back problems. Dragic, though, played well against the Kings and scored 19 points.
Miami has gotten a boost from guard Tyler Johnson, who was the NBA’s second-leading scorer off the bench to the Lakers guard Lou Williams at 13.8 points per game. Johnson delivered 23 points and a crucial block to help preserve the Heat’s victory over the Kings.
In his last five games, Johnson is averaging 17.2 points, four rebounds and four assists and shooting 49.2 percent.
The Heat beat the Lakers 115-107 in their last meeting on Dec. 22 in Miami. They have captured eight of the last nine against the Lakers.