MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 19: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat is guarded by Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during a game at American Airlines Arena on January 19, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The Lakers have lost four straight games to the Heat.
The Los Angeles Lakers look for continued home success on Sunday afternoon as they host one of the best teams in the NBA, the Miami Heat in a nationally televised game on ABC. The Lakers have won seven straight games at Staples Center and are 16-2 at home this season.
The Heat (28-8) had their nine-game winning streak snapped Friday night with a one-point loss in Utah. The Heat are in a three-way battle with the Chicago Bulls (30-8) and Oklahoma City Thunder (29-8) for the best record in the NBA. LeBron James, who is playing like the league MVP this season, has posted back-to-back games with at least 30 points (he has 73 points in his last two games), 10 rebounds, five assists, and no turnovers, the first player ever to do so since the league began recording turnovers in the 1977-1978 season.
Kobe Bryant will play with his mask on against Dwyane Wade, the man who gave Kobe the hard foul in the NBA All-Star Game one week ago today, that gave Kobe a broken nose and a concussion. Bryant said he had no hard feelings against Wade, but his teammates weren't as forgiving.
"I can't do anything," center Andrew Bynum told the Los Angeles Times. "If I do anything, they're going to definitely hit me [with punishment]. It [stinks]. It's not good. It's just unfortunate and something we've got to deal with."
The Lakers lost to the Heat in Miami 98-87 on January 19 in a game that wasn't really that close. James was everywhere in that game, finishing with 31 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, four blocks and three steals. Wade didn't even play, which makes Sunday's matchup with Miami at full strength even more daunting. The Lakers have lost four straight games to the Heat.
Sunday afternoon's 12:30 p.m. PST game will be televised by ABC. For more news and notes on Lakers basketball, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.