The Los Angeles Lakers opened the NBA Finals in big style, beating the Miami Heat 116-98. The LAL was superb against the rivals from the Eastern Conference, displaying their full power after a bit slower start.
The Heat was up 23-10 before the purple and gold began pounding. LeBron and Davis quickly took over the command of the floor, and when Bam Adebayo picked up his second foul in the first, there was no way for Miami to track the Lakers’ pace.
“We kind of picked it up on both ends of the floor,” Anthony Davis said.
The LAL closed the first period with a 19-3 run, which was their heating up for the rest of the game. James and the guys continued to roll, while on the other side, the Heat suffered a potential catastrophe.
Goran Dragic left in the second period, with what could be a torn plantar fascia in his left foot. If this happens to be true, the Heat point guard will miss the rest of the series, which is a massive blow. After that, Jimmy Butler had a nasty situation once he rolled his ankle, but continued to play.
“We love him for that, and we want him out there with us. But whatever the docs tell him to do, that’s what he’s got to do. … He’s got to take care of himself first,” Butler said of Dragic.
Lakers won the second period with 34-20, and the third with 28-19, reaching a 32-point lead at one moment. The key reason for this massive difference was their early three-point shooting, which was 9-for-11 at the finish of the first half. After that, it was all a routine for the team from California.
Anthony Davis scored 34 points, had nine boards, and five assists, being perfect from the free-throw line, 10-for-10. LeBron was just one assist shy away from a triple-double with 25 points, 13 boards, and nine dimes in 36 minutes.
The two had solid support from other teammates, especially Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Danny Green. KCP scored 13 points, while Green had two fewer, but both did a very good job defensively.
Alex Caruso was also excellent on defensive side of the ball, creating numerous troubles for the rival. Caruso had 10 points and four boards in 22 minutes.
“It was important for us to come out and play Laker basketball,” he said.
"We had to match their intensity and drive." @KingJames discusses the #Lakers' ability to respond to a slow start and what'll be most important heading into Game 2 of the #NBAFinals. pic.twitter.com/DVJ80TTd4U
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) October 1, 2020
Among the Heat, Butler had a team-high 23 point with five assists. Kendrick Nunn scored 18 in 20 minutes, shooting 8-for-11, with five boards, while Tyler Herro added 14. Jae Crowder ended the night with four threes for 12 points.
Bam Adebayo played 21 minutes, posting 8 points and four boards, entering foul-trouble early on. The Heat’s main big man couldn’t help his teammates properly. He, too, had an injury, that is aggravated the already present issues with his shoulder.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra believes in his team, and announces better performances in the future matches.
“We’re much better than we showed tonight,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You have to credit the Lakers, and we’ll get to work for the next one.”
With Dragic out, the situation is not bright for the team from Florida because the veteran is the glue of the unit. Lakers now have the momentum, with James and especially AD on fire, and to beat them, Miami needs to have a perfect performance.
Game 2 of the finals is this Friday.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.