The Miami Heat have been trading wins and losses this season, but it might not be all that difficult a habit to break in the second of a seven-game homestand.
With the Heat coming off an impressive victory, the Los Angeles Lakers visit Tuesday night following a highly discouraging loss.
The Heat (4-3) opened the homestand with Sunday's 96-76 win over Toronto, outscoring the Raptors 52-29 in the second half with a 33-14 edge from the bench for the game. They've allowed 100 points only once this season, and their 90.4 allowed per game and .409 opponent field-goal percentage are among the best in the league.
"That was really inspiring basketball in the second half," said coach Erik Spoelstra, whose team held the Raptors to 3 of 19 from 3-point range. "I think the second unit really sparked the energy of the entire team and everybody fed off that defensive energy."
On the other end, Chris Bosh scored a season-high 23 points and is coming around with an average of 20.0 over his last three games while shooting 48.8 percent from the floor. Through the first four contests, he was scoring 14.0 per game and hitting 37.7 percent.
It's come at a good time because Dwayne Wade has fallen off with 10.5 points per game on 28.6 percent shooting in his last two after scoring at least 20 and shooting 49.4 percent over the first five games.
The Heat have won six straight in the series and 10 of 11, as well as seven in a row at home. The Lakers' most recent win at Miami came in December 2008 before they went on to win the NBA title. Things couldn't be more different for Kobe Bryant and Co.
Los Angeles (1-5) followed its only win with a 99-95 loss Sunday against New York, missing 16 straight fourth-quarter shots after leading by six points.
"We just got bogged down mentally," coach Byron Scott told the team's official website. "We stopped moving the ball like we did earlier (when we) tried to explore both sides of the floor and get easy shots. Everything was contested. The defense was right in front of us. I thought we lost our focus for a little while on both ends of the court."
Bryant had 18 points on 6-of-19 shooting in possibly his last visit to Madison Square Garden, but he's not getting a ton of help. Jordan Clarkson has been a bright spot with 16.5 points per game on 49.4 percent shooting - including 45.5 from 3 point range - but the team is near the bottom of the league at 40.3 overall and 27.0 from long range.
The 37-year-old Bryant, who is averaging 16.5 points while shooting 32.0 percent and 20.8 from 3-point range, recently spoke with Scott about how he'd like his minutes handled. According to Scott, the conversation revealed much more than Bryant's desire to play back-to-back sets such as this trip through Miami and Orlando.
"His feeling was: 'You know, Coach, this might be my last year. So if possible, I'd like to try to play every game,'" Scott said. "So I'm with that with him, and we'll see how that plays out."
Bryant's previous game against the Heat - a 78-75 loss Jan. 13 - was about on par with his form lately. He went 3 of 19 for 12 points, but he's missed three of the last four meetings.