Extra Pass: Battles of shorthanded East, West teams

Published December 15, 2021, 3:00 PMJon Carlos Rodriguez

Four undermanned squads take centerstage tomorrow as the Heat take on the 76ers and the Lakers visit the Mavericks.

The Miami Heat are one of the many teams hit by health issues—that’s the bad news. The good news is that the Heat are also one of the deepest teams in the league.

Without their 1a and 1b superstars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, the Heat have been getting solid production from Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, and Tyler Herro.

Herro might also be missing a game or two due to a right quad contusion, which means Lowry and Robinson will have to further stretch their work shift.

The Philadelphia 76ers are another team that hasn’t really experienced a 100-percent attendance. Joel Embiid is still a game-time decision with sore ribs, so the Sixers are again undermanned.

The best news you can take from these types of scenarios is that this opens the door for the Max Struses and the Charles Basseys of the world to go showcase their talents.

The Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers will try to field as many warm bodies as possible at 8:00 AM on NBA TV Philippines (available on Smart’s GigaPlay app and Cignal TV).

Out West, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks will also battle not at full strength.

Anthony Davis is still a game-time decision due to an injury to his left knee, which forced him to miss two games already. The Mavs are still without Luka Doncic, who’s nursing an ankle injury. 

These negatives aside, the Mavs are riding the wave of a two-game winning streak—thanks to the tremendous play of Kristaps Porzingis and Jalen Brunson.

The Lakers, meanwhile, have also won two straight back-to-back 30-point games by the 36-year-old LeBron James. He’s about to turn 37 in a few days, but his game is not showing signs of age. He and the Lakers will be tested by the young Mavs tomorrow, which you can catch via a delayed telecast at 1:30 PM also on NBA TV Philippines.