Heat look to remain hot as they visit James, Lakers
The Heat (11-14) are coming off back-to-back double-digit road wins against the Phoenix Suns on Friday and the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.
The Lakers (16-10) will also be playing their third game in four days after losing at the San Antonio Spurs on Friday and winning at the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday. Los Angeles has won five of its past six.
The Lakers beat the Heat 113-97 in Miami on Nov. 18.
Lakers forward LeBron James scored a season-high 51 points in his return to Miami, where he played four seasons, reaching the 50-point mark for the 13th time in his career.
The rematch on Monday will be the final time James and Miami guard Dwyane Wade will be on the floor together. Wade is retiring after this season.
James and Wade teamed up when James signed with the Heat in the summer of 2010. They led Miami to four straight NBA Finals appearances, winning two championships before James returned to Cleveland following the 2013-14 season.
“It’s bitter and it’s sweet. It’s sweet and sour,” James told the Orange County Register. “The sweet part about it is I’ve always loved being on the same floor with my brother. We struck up a relationship together at the Combine in 2003 and it started from there. And the sour part about it is that this is our last time sharing the same court.”
The Lakers will be without forward Brandon Ingram for the third straight game. He sustained a sprained left ankle against the visiting Spurs on Wednesday. Ingram is third on the team in scoring at 15.2 points a game.
The Heat might also be short-handed.
Josh Richardson, the starting shooting guard for Miami and the team’s leading scorer at 19.2 points a game, missed Saturday’s game with a shoulder impingement. Tyler Johnson, who started in place of Richardson against the Clippers, left the game with a left hip contusion.
Miami coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters after the win against the Clippers that he’s impressed with his team’s perseverance.
“When you’re coaching in this league, you want to have a group like this,” Spoelstra said. “When they show up for shootaround and you know that even more guys are not playing, that guys look forward to the challenge instead of trying to make an excuse and get on to the next game. So we really had to show a tremendous amount of perseverance and grit in this, and get a lot of contributions. You can’t just talk about grit, guys have to actually play well and step up.”