ABC and ESPN will combine to present an NBA quadrupleheader on Sunday, March 4, highlighted by the Miami Heat and their superstar tandem of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade heading west to face the Los Angeles Lakers, led by five-time NBA Champion Kobe Bryant. The game will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC with Mike Breen and analyst Jeff Van Gundy calling the action with reporter Lisa Salters.
Additionally, the New York Knicks with Jeremy Lin will travel to Boston for a matchup with the Celtics and Rajon Rondo at 1 p.m. on ABC. Mike Tirico will provide commentary with analyst Hubie Brown and reporter Heather Cox.
ESPN NBA commentators provided insights on Sunday's matchups:
Jeff Van Gundy on Heat/Lakers
Neither Kobe Bryant nor LeBron James has to do anything different than they have all year. The more the Lakers pound the ball into the post against Miami, the better off they'll be. This keeps Miami out of transition and allows L.A to set their half-court defense. The challenge for Kobe is that he doesn't have the perimeter shooting surrounding him. He will have to take a lot of challenged jump shots.
Regarding LeBron James: He is a true point forward that is capable of leading the league in scoring, but he is much better in the role that he has currently in Miami. He has to initiate their offense and run pick-and-rolls to help his teammates score.
Mike Breen on Heat/Lakers
This is the only time the Heat will be in L.A. The crowd will be excited. Everything for me is watching the Heat play. They are playing at an incredible level at both ends of the floor. They have more talent and better depth than they did last year.
As for Kobe, the beauty of Kobe Bryant is that he just wants to win. I don't think it's about matching up with LeBron or even seeking revenge on Dwyane Wade for the All-Star incident. I think his only concern is putting his team in the best position to win games.
Hubie Brown on Knicks/Celtics
In the second half of the season, there will be fewer shots for Lin because the team is now healthy. So with Stoudemire, Carmelo and J.R. Smith - his shot attempts will go down - and they should. The big question marks for Lin will be: 1. Will he continue to play 35 minutes per game? 2. Will he continue to shoot at that 50 percent level? We will see how he adjusts against defenses that have already seen him. With Rondo defending him, this is a major test for Lin.
Regarding the Celtics, they have a great half-court defense. They will rely on Rondo guarding Lin. Rondo can defend well because of his size, the length of his arms and his ability to strip the ball if you lose focus. They are finally healthy and should have their best five players starting. The contribution of the Celtics bench is key. It's been totally erratic.