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Bet on the NBAWhen the Los Angeles Lakers visit the Miami Heat Thursday night, the contrast between the two teams will be heavy in the air. The Lakers are on fire right now, having won their last eight games in a row, while the Heat have gone cold, dropping five straight. Can the Lakers keep the momentum going on their road trip, or will fatigue and the Heat's motivation to end their losing streak be the deciding factor?

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The last time the two teams met on Christmas Day 2010, Miami destroyed the Lakers 96-80 in Los Angeles. But this game is generally being ignored in anticipation of tonight's matchup, because both teams' fortunes have changed so much since then. After the All-Star Break, Los Angeles went on a hot streak, while Miami have struggled during their stretch of playing the league's best teams.

So it is likely that the Lakers will be able to get revenge on the Heat. Miami's previous blowout of the Lakers is being ignored. In fact, Los Angeles is the 2-point favorite tonight at the sportsbook. The total is set at 188, as the Lakers defense has been keeping teams at 87 or fewer points per game for the last five games. Their 101-87 win in Atlanta against the Hawks on Tuesday was the latest showing of their strong defense.

Miami's fortunes have turned down so far that they are not just on a five-game losing streak. They have also dropped seven in a row against the point spread.. Their five recent losses have come against the New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, and Portland Trailblazers. The Lakers are right up there with all these teams, so it is hard to imagine them losing to the faltering Heat.

The Lakers are 5-0 ATS in their last five games on the road. The Heat are 0-5 ATS in their last five games played in Miami. My pick: the Lakers will pull out a win against the Heat, who will not get their groove back until they beat a couple of perpetually-losing teams.


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