The Los Angeles Lakers are two wins away from adding another Larry O’Brien Trophy to their collection.
One more win and they will have the title virtually in their bag, as no team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit.
In what amounts to a must-win game, will the Heat dig deep enough to steal a victory and avoid getting another nail in their coffin?
Catch this game live on October 5 at 7:30 am, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: #5 Miami Heat (0-2)
With Miami showing up in Game 2 minus Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic, things went just the way most people expected, as the Heat lost again to the Lakers, 124-114. The Heat started Meyers Leonard in place of Adebayo and Tyler Herro for Dragic, but those moves barely moved the needle for them.
If anything, at least Adebayo and Dragic are yet to be ruled out for the rest of the series, meaning there remains a glimmer of hope that at least one of them is going to play, albeit operating under 100 percent health.
The Heat got 25 points, eight rebounds and 13 assists from Jimmy Butler. With a roster that’s looking like an infirmary right now, Miami can’t afford for him to put up a lesser performance. One bright spot for the Heat is Kelly Olynyk, who stepped up in Game 2 by scoring 24 points and grabbing nine rebounds in 37 minutes.
Butler was tentative on some big plays of the game, looking to pass instead of score. He’s going to need to be more aggressive.
If Adebayo misses another game, Olynyk might still have to come off the bench to keep the relievers’ offense productive together with Kendrick Nunn, who had 13 points in Game 2.
The Heat need their outside shooting more than ever, but they haven’t made more than 11 in any game in this series, so far.
ROAD TEAM: #1 Los Angeles Lakers (2-0)
The Lakers are giving Miami the worst ride they could have in Disney World. Anthony Davis and LeBron James had fun dissecting the Adebayo-less Heat in Game 2, as the two combined for 65 points on 29-of-45 shooting from the field.
The Heat had no answer for Davis, who trampled all over his defenders, and that’s a trend that should continue. Davis shot a deadly 15 of 20 (75%) from the field, and is definitely the most dominant player in the series so far.
Miami’s zone defense is clearly not working against the Lakers, but even if the Heat try to go man-to-man, what’s going to stop James from hunting Duncan Robinson or Tyler Herro on switches?
What’s making it worse for Miami is that the Lakers are hitting their threes. Although Danny Green went 1-of-8 from deep in Game 2 after hitting three triples in the series opener, the Lakers still buried 16 treys. They weren’t afraid to let them fly either, setting an NBA record for most three pointers shot by a team in the finals with 47.
With James running the offense with several quality options, and the predictable ascension of “Playoff Rondo”, against a banged-up team, the Heat are in a really bad spot right now.
The Lakers will stick to the same game plan that’s been clicking for them, with James attacking the lane or finding Davis for easy baskets around the rim.
The Heat will have success shooting the ball, but that’s not going to be enough to offset the punishment they’ll absorb on the defensive end. The Lakers win Game 5, 121-107.