LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers humbled the Miami Heat in Game 1 with a convincing victory.
Fortunately for the Heat, the NBA Finals isn’t a single-elimination event. The series is still alive, and they have a shot at bouncing back. Unfortunately for them, they’ve got to do it without at least one of their key men.
Catch Game 2 of this series on October 3 at 9 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: #1 Los Angeles Lakers (1-0)
“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth,” Mike Tyson once said.
For the Heat, that punch came in the form of the Lakers’ all-out attack led by the usual suspects: Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Davis toyed with the Heat’s defense, scoring 34 points to go with nine rebounds, and five assists, while James flirted with a triple-double, posting 25 points, 13 rebounds, and nine assists.
Size still matters in the NBA after all, and the Lakers are relishing their advantage in that area, along with the sheer talent of Davis. Like the Lakers’ previous three opponents, the Heat didn’t show any sign in Game 1 that they can solve Davis. As long as that’s the case, the Lakers are not going to change their plan of attack, which is to get him the ball as often as they can.
Of course, that begins with James, who plays a big role in getting Davis his buckets. In fact, James and Davis have the second-highest assist-combo in the NBA, with the former assisting on 49 baskets of the latter, per PBP Stats. With Bam Adebayo seemingly hurt and not in his 100 percent form heading into Game 2, it looks like Davis will have put on another cooking show in Orlando.
ROAD TEAM: #5 Miami Heat (0-1)
Game 1 could not have gotten worse for Miami. The Heat actually started Game 1 like a house on fire until the Lakers woke up and punched them in the mouth. Not only were the Heat clobbered by the Lakers on the scoreboard, they also sustained concerning injuries to a couple of key players.
Goran Dragic went down with a foot injury and his availability for Game 2 is in serious doubt. Adebayo hurt his shoulder and while X-rays returned negative, it could bother him on Saturday — if he’ll play.
Their hard-nosed star Jimmy Butler was also limping after the game.
Regardless of the statuses of Dragic and Adebayo, Duncan Robinson has to start making his shots. It appeared that the lights of the NBA Finals were too bright for DROB, who went 0-of-3 from the field and finished with zero points in 27 minutes. If Dragic can’t play, Kendrick Nunn might get a start after scoring 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the floor off the bench in Game 1, though, most of those points were made during the prolonged garbage time.
The Heat can’t be counted out just yet. The Lakers hit 15 threes in Game 1 with Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope combining for seven 3-pointers.
Those two will regress in Game 2, while the Heat’s shooters could find their groove. However, missing Dragic and likely Adebayo may be too big an obstacle for Miami.
The Heat will fight valiantly, but the Lakers will take a 116-110 win.