It’s an NBA Battle of the Titans on ESPN’s Wednesday Night Basketball this week. The Miami Heat take their talents all the way to Los Angeles to square off with the Clippers for a big-time showdown.
Miami is tied in third place in the Eastern Conference with the Boston Celtics. Los Angeles finds itself in second place in the West all alone, but still 3.5 games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for first place.
Both teams have played fairly well as of late, but the Clippers have the edge over their last 10 games. Miami is 6-4, while Los Angeles is 7-3.
The death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant completely threw a wrench in everyone’s program, but for the Clippers especially, as last week’s game with the Lakers was postponed due to the incident.
Now we will see if everyone can get their focus back on the game headed into the All-Star break, which is sure to be a tribute to Kobe as well. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 pm ET at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Since the tragic loss of Bryant, no game at any level has felt the same, nor has it looked the same. Everyone has looked like they are trudging through mud, but the time is now to shift the focus back to basketball. As many players and friends have stated, if you want to pay tribute to Bryant, just win. It’s all the man cared about on the court.
The Clippers rank fifth in the league in points per game, averaging 115.4 per contest. Defensively, while Kawhi Leonard, Patrick Beverley, and Paul George are all lock-down defenders, they haven’t all been healthy and on the court all season, so the Clippers’ defense ranks in the middle of the pack. They give up an average of 109.5 per game, which ranks 13th in the league.
Miami doesn’t necessarily knock your socks off in any statistical categories, but the leadership of Erik Spoelstra, and being above average at pretty much everything has gotten the job done. You’ll find that Miami ranks in the top half of the league in most important categories on both ends of the floor.
Bam Adebayo transitioning to the power forward so Meyers Leonard could come into the starting lineup at the 5 has worked well in Adebayo’s and the Heat’s favor. Jimmy Butler and rookie Kendrick Nunn are also putting together fantastic seasons and lead the team in scoring.
Goran Dragic has transitioned to a sixth man to complement the starters. He still gets starter minutes at over 28 per game.
This game should be a great one and one you won’t want to miss. The Heat come in without Justise Winslow, but outside of that, both teams come in mostly healthy. Strap in for a great duel with a handful of the NBA’s best defenders on both teams. See you Wednesday night!