Lakers vs. Miami Heat preview

Kobe Bryant is expected to play for the Lakers against the Miami Heat tonight at Staples Center

The Lakers (12-26) expect to get Kobe Bryant back on Tuesday night when they host the Miami Heat (16-21) at Staples Center.

Bryant has sat out three of the last four games to rest. The Heat has struggled in the Eastern Conference, but was able to upset the Clippers on Sunday.

Former Lakers forward Josh McRoberts (knee) is out for the season. The Lakers are also missing Julius Randle (knee) and Steve Nash (back).

Key matchup

The Heat lost LeBron James to free agency over the summer, but it still has Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

The pair have played well this season, but both missed eight games with various injuries.

At full strength, Miami is dangerous.

The Lakers may put Ronnie Price, Wesley Johnson, Wayne Ellington, Jeremy Lin, Nick Young and/or Bryant against Wade.

Ed Davis, with his mobility, may do best defending Bosh. Jordan Hill is a stronger, more physical option for the Lakers.

Tarik Black has seemingly overtaken Robert Sacre in the rotation.  Black, Sacre and Carlos Boozer may also get time against Bosh.

X-factor

Miami's Hassan Whiteside had a career night against the Clippers on Sunday, scoring 23 points with 16 rebounds.

If Whiteside can emerge as a steady low-post threat, allowing Bosh to play more of a high-post, face-up game, the Heat may climb in the Eastern Conference standings.

Nick Young has found himself in a massive shooting slump through the past week or so. The Lakers need his offensive punch.

Outlook

The Heat is a dangerous team, and probably favored here given how hot and cold the Lakers have been this season.

Despite that, put the Lakers down for the win Tuesday at Staples Center.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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