Los Angeles Lakers: Udonis Haslem

Lakers at Heat: What to watch with Tom Haberstroh, Heat Index

January, 19, 2012
1/19/12
8:33
AM PT
By the Kamenetzky brothers
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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The first meeting between these teams last season was met with enough hype to make P.T. Barnum blush. (It was also met with enough purple and gold lethargy to make a Lakers fan lose his Christmas brunch.) One year -- and two similarly disappointing series against the Dallas Mavericks -- later, and the setting has changed. The Lakers are trying to prove that a championship pedigree still exists, while the Heat are trying to prove their pedigree is matched by a championship heart. A win in AmericanAirlines Arena would help re-establish the Lakers' credibility, and a win with Dwyane Wade possible in street clothes would be a meaningful one for the Heat.


Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
It's a shame this game doesn't feature much in the way of star power.


For a look inside Thursday's extravaganza, we talked some shop with Tom Haberstroh, who covers the Big Three & Co. for the Heat Index.

Brian Kamenetzky: Is Wade going to play Thursday?

Tom Haberstroh: I'd bet my authentic Drazen Petrovic jersey that Wade is not going to play. All the players at Wednesday's practice spoke as if he was already ruled out. Erik Spoelstra called him "day-to-day," which has been his status for a couple weeks now.

BK: So what does that mean? They're like Tim Tebow without him. All they do is win. Or at least like pre-losing Tebow.

TH: This is a great point. Maybe we have to look into this a little more, because LeBron made some Tebow comments before the game that Wade got hurt in ... Conspiracy! Wade being out means that LeBron James and Chris Bosh get to go back to their Cleveland and Toronto days, respectively. You saw the free-wheeling attitude Tuesday against the Spurs.

But I should add -- 4-0 does NOT mean that they're better without Wade. Bosh and LeBron are better without Wade, but the Heat are not better. Need to put this meme to bed.

Andy Kamenetzky: Kinda like the meme people throw out whenever the Lakers happen to win a game without Kobe. Having said that, how much confusion still lingers between LeBron and Wade in terms of co-existence?

TH: They're worlds better than they were Jan. 19, 2011, but they still have a way to go. I'm still clamoring for more Wade/LeBron pick-and-rolls, but something tells me Spoelstra is keeping that trick up his sleeve for the playoffs. But I think it's no secret that they need to create more actions where each of the Big Three are moving together, not just LeBron and Wade.

Of course, it makes it tough when Wade is in street clothes with a canary-yellow diamond in his ear weighing him down.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Nick Young
PTS AST STL MIN
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0