Miami Heat vs Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are in the driver’s seat for the NBA championship, but they are far from content as they head into the second game tomorrow.
Anthony Davis led all scorers with 34 points while LeBron James had 25 points, 13 rebounds, and nine assists as the Lakers rolled over the Heat in what was a dominant display last Wednesday night.
“We’ve got so much work to do. The job is not done and we’re not satisfied with winning one game. It’s that simple,” said James during the postgame interview.
The Lakers got major contributions besides from their two stars. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope continues his fine play by adding 13 points, while Danny Green notched 11 points and Alex Caruso registered 10 points.
On the other hand, the Heat’s NBA 2020 odds in this series is looking bleak.
Besides being overmatched in Game 1, injury concerns for their key players loom large ahead of Game 2.
Can the Heat recover and draw level in Game 2? Or will the Lakers assert their dominance once more to stay out front?
Injury woes piling up for the Heat
Not only did the Heat were beaten badly in Game 1, but they lost some of their vital cogs as well.
Point guard Goran Dragic suffered a partial tear to his left plantar fascia and center Bam Adebayo strained his neck in a collision against Dwight Howard. Both are listed as doubtful for Friday night.
Dragic did not play in the second half and he finished with six points in 15 minutes. Adebayo, meanwhile, did not come back either in the third period and he tallied only eight points on 2-for-8 shooting from the field.
Without them, the Heat lacked the firepower to match up with the Lakers. Especially with Bam Adebayo out, the Lakers outrebounded the Heat 54-36.
Los Angeles also had more trips to the charity stripe as they had 27 total attempts compared to Miami’s 14.
Jimmy Butler sprained his ankle in Game 1, but the good news is he is expected to play in Game 2 since he was able to walk out on his own power.
The veteran swingman led Miami with 23 points while seldom-used guard Kendrick Nunn added 18 points on 8-for-11 shooting in the losing effort.
Their shooters in Tyler Herro and Jae Crowder had 14 and 12 apiece, but they had to work for their shots all evening. Meanwhile, Duncan Robinson was held scoreless.
The Heat actually played well to start the ball game as they led in double digits in the first quarter. But since then, it was all Lakers from there.
They would need to play an almost perfect game to give themselves a chance. Because if they don’t, they might get swept easily by the Lakers.
“We’ve talked about how damn near perfect we have to play and we that nowhere near it,” lamented Butler.
“Everybody probably thinks that the Lakers are going to do it to us three more times in a row. I beg to differ. Nobody picked us to be here. We love it,” he added.
The Lakers are feasting on defence
The bigs matchup was a point of discussion in this Finals matchup, but little did we know that it would get this lopsided.
Davis’ presence was felt primarily on the defencive end as he would use his athleticism to bust up the Heat’s offencive sets. Along with his 34 points, The Brow also grabbed nine rebounds and three blocks.
Dwight Howard, who was the starting center for the Lakers, made the most out of the opportunity. The former three-time Defensive Player of the Year corraled eight boards in 15 minutes of playing time.
And let’s not forget about LeBron James, who continues to spoil basketball fans with NBA 2020 highlights. The King also got into it defencively, which compounds to the Heat’s struggles.
The only way that the Heat will win in this series is if the Lakers beat themselves. But with the Lakers locked in as ever, that might not be the case.
The Lakers are now 3-0 against the Heat this season, and they’ve done it with their suffocating defence.
The Heat were held to only 103.2 offensive rating in Game 1, which was their lowest in this postseason considering they were at 114.7 in the rounds prior.
Anthony Davis’ 34 point-performance in Game 1 was the third-most in Lakers history for an NBA Finals debut.
What are the odds?
The Lakers are the hot favourites to win. In the money line readings, they are priced at 1.19 compared to only 4.44 by the Heat.
In the SBOTOP Asian Handicap market, Los Angeles are pegged to win in Game 2 via a slimmer margin at -9.50 @ 1.98.
The odds are clearly stacked against the Heat, and this championship is for the Lakers to lose.
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