For the first 6 minutes of Game 1 Wednesday night it looked like the Miami Heat’s balanced offensive attack might overwhelm the Los Angeles Lakers. At that point in the game the Heat led 23-10, had already made 4 three pointers, and looked on their way to victory and a 1-0 lead in the series. From that point on, however, it was all Anthony Davis, Lebron James, and the Lakers. Davis led all scorers with 34 points and added 9 rebounds and 5 assists, while James finished an assist shy of another playoff triple double with 25 points, 13 rebounds, and 9 assists. For Miami, the lone bright spot was the play of Jimmy Butler who poured in 23 points and added 5 assists. Butler only scored 7 points in the second half however as the Lakers cruised to a 116-98 victory.
The biggest story for Miami was the loss of both starting point guard Goran Dragic and center Bam Adebayo to injury. Dragic was diagnosed with plantar tear in his foot and it would be hard to believe he will return in this series. Adebayo injured the same arm that he injured in the last series against Boston, and his status is a little more unclear for game 2. Without two of their three best players able to go, things unraveled quickly for the Heat, and after taking a brief 43-41 lead in the second quarter, they would never lead again in the game. Lebron and co. would finish the half on a 24-5 run go take a 64-48 lead into the break. The Lakers, not known as a terrific three point shooting team, made a blistering 11-17 from three point ranges
The second half was more of the same, As the Lakers used another big run to push the lead to as much as 32 points. The bench units were a huge story leading into this series, with most people feeling Miami would have advantage but the Lakers second unit held their own and were barely outscored for the game. The Lakers outrebounded the Heat 62-40, had more assists, steals and blocks and dominated in almost every facet of the game.
Other Lakers in double figures included Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with 13, Danny Green with 11, and Alex Caruso with 10. For the Heat, Kendrick Nunn came of the bench with 18 points after struggling to find playing time this post season, Tyler Herro scored 14 but posted the worst plus minus in a Finals game in NBA history, And Jae Crowder scored 12.
The Lakers incredible size and athleticism bothered Miami into an 18 point beat down in game 1. Photo Credit: Kim Klement
With Adebayo in foul trouble early and then suffering an injury, Miami’s lack of depth and athleticism was exploited by Los Angeles all night as Dwight Howard and Anthony Davis had their way in the post. The thing that bodes well for LA and should worry Miami the most is that Lebron James didn’t even play near his best and they still got blown out. If Miami is without Dragic and Adebayo expect more of the same, and if they can’t go at all, we might be headed for a sweep.
Game 2 is Friday as the Lakers will look to take a commanding 2-0 lead, while Miami looks to find a say to keep up and even the series.
Photo Credit: Mark Terrill
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