Here is what you need to know before the Lakers return to host the Miami Heat.
1) One last dance for D-Wade
With Dwyane Wade retiring at the end of the season, he will have one more battle with his good friend, LeBron James.
The pair will always be remembered for what they accomplished together — two NBA titles plus Olympic gold — but they also have some memorable moments as adversaries.
It has been an evenly matched rivalry, with each player winning 15 games in their 30 head-to-head matchups. In that sample, both James and Wade have scored 30-plus points seven times with two 40-point games apiece.
Wade has won the last four meetings between the two, but the Lakers are hoping James will change that with a repeat of his performance in Miami.
On Nov. 18 with Wade out due to personal reasons, LeBron hammered his former team, dropping 51 points with six 3-pointers against the Heat.
2) Lakers let it rain in Memphis
The Lakers are coming off their best 3-point night of the season, having sunk 16 triples in Saturday’s 23-point win over the Grizzlies.
Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope all hit four treys, while Svi Mykhailiuk added three. James and Kuzma did a nice job of playmaking for the Lakers’ shooters, assisting on four and three 3-pointers, respectively.
The Lakers also dominated the glass, hauling in a season-best 19 offensive rebounds — 10 more than Memphis — thanks to the likes of JaVale McGee and Tyson Chandler.
Meanwhile, Kuzma led the charge from deep and collected his fourth straight 20-point game.
Kyle Kuzma had a huge hand in the Lakers’ season-high 16 3-pointers, splashing 4 of his own and assisting on 3 more.
Includes this trey off a mountainous pick from Tyson Chandler, who starts celebrating with the ball still mid-air.
— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) December 9, 2018
3) Both teams are hitting their stride
Both the Lakers and Heat have won four of their last five games, setting this up for a clash between two hot clubs.
This battle will likely be largely waged in the paint, where Miami and L.A. rank first and second, respectively, in terms of rim protection.
The Heat have held their opponents to the league’s second-fewest points in the paint during the aforementioned five-game span, while the Lakers have scored the third-most in that area during the same time.
Also look for the purple and gold to crank up the pace, as they lead the NBA in fast-break points over the past five.
Lakers: Brandon Ingram (sprained left ankle) and Rajon Rondo (right hand surgery) are out. Alex Caruso and Johnathan Williams are on G League assignment.
Heat: Josh Richardson (right shoulder impingement), Wayne Ellington (personal), Tyler Johnson (left hip contusion) and Hassan Whiteside (personal) are TBD. Dion Waiters (ankle) is out.
Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet in L.A. NBA TV nationally
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW
Unis: Gold Icon
Location: STAPLES Center — Los Angeles, California