In their first Finals appearance since 2014, the Miami Heat were seen as the underdogs heading into the series against the LA Lakers, yet no one was counting them out despite facing huge adversities in the seven-game series.
Heading into Game 1, Miami were looking great, dispatching the Indiana Pacers in four games in the first round, taking out the heavy favorite Milwaukee Bucks in five games and sending the Celtics back to Boston in six games.
It was looking like Coach Erik Spoelstra’s squad had a legitimate chance of pulling off another upset in Game 1 to set the tone in the series, unfortunately, fate decided to cool down the Heat.
Miami suffered a blowout loss in Game 1 at the hands of the LA Lakers, 98-116.The Heat played poorly on the floor, failing to make shots and play their usual game.
As a team, Miami only shot 42.7% at the field compared to their usual 45.7% shooting at the field, they also shot poorly from the three-point area, only dropping 31.4% of their three-point attempts compared to their usual 37%.
They were also out hustled and out rebounded the entire game. The Lakers dominated the boards with 54 total team rebounds compared to the Heat’s 36 rebounds. Miami looked unmotivated during the game as they let the LA squad gather 16 second-chance points compared to their nine second chance points.
Now, you could say that the Heat’s very poor performance was because of the defense of the Lakers, especially, with the fact that LA had more steals (7-2) and more blocks (12-5).
But another hurdle that Miami faced is the lack of key guys. The injury bug bit a huge chunk of the Heat’s roster as multiple starters suffered concerning injuries in one night.
Miami’s star big-man Bam Adebayo exited the game after suffering a shoulder injury in the third quarter. He did not return and finished the game with only eight points and four rebounds in 21 minutes of playing time.
Now Bam Adebayo has gone back to the Miami locker room too 😬 pic.twitter.com/SVWSLP7Gli— TSN (@TSN_Sports) October 1, 2020
Goran Dragic seems to have suffered the worst injury of the three as he went down in the first half of the game. He suffered a torn plantar fascia. There is still no update on his status for this series but the odds of him being limited all throughout are very likely. He only had six points and three assists in 14 minutes of playing time.
Close up on Dragic’s injury pic.twitter.com/G1O5KvtLRk— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) October 1, 2020
Heat star Jimmy Butler suffered too after he rolled his ankle and was seen limping and hobbling in the dying seconds of the first half. He still continued to play and finished the game with 23 points, five assists, two steals in 33 minutes of playing time.
Jimmy Butler tweaks the ankle and comes up limping just before halftime 😬 pic.twitter.com/rZmGJRrAFv— TSN (@TSN_Sports) October 1, 2020
Despite the injuries, Spoelstra still took the loss as a result of failing to match up the intensity of the Lakers the whole time.
“The Lakers set the tone, the force, the physicality for the majority of the game and they just took control and we weren’t just able to give it back,” he said during the post-game interview.
“It’s high level competition, you have to do things with force and details. It’s the cliché but every single possession counts and there’s too many possessions or poor offensive possession that led to couple poor possessions defensively or vice versa,” he added.
Butler on the other hand stated that he’s doing okay despite his injury
“A little bit sore, I’ll be OK. Some treatment, and get ready to go again, I think I gotta be ready to go. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow, but I’m gonna be fine,” he said.
The Maquette University product stated that he will be willing to do some more scoring now that his co-stars are out of the picture but will ensure to keep on getting his teammates involved.
“I just take what the game gives me for the most part, I still have a lot of belief in all of my teammates and I will continue to play that way but yea, maybe so. Maybe try to score a little bit more but I still gotta make sure that everybody is getting their touches and getting the shots that they need because we’ve been playing this way all year long and that’s our formula to success,” he stated.
The Heat are still far from being out of the series and we can all expect that on Saturday, they will come out with a new fire in them and if you don’t believe it, just watch Jimmy Buckets assure you that.