Lakers Take 2-0 Lead in NBA Finals Series After Outlasting Heat
The Los Angeles Lakes have taken a 2-0 lead of the NBA Finals Series after outlasting a tenacious Miami Heat, 124-114, on Friday.
The Heat was missing two of its key players as head coach Erik Spoelstra has decided not field Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo, who got injured in Game 1, despite both asking to play.
Dragic incurred a torn plantar fascia in his left foot while Adebayo suffered a strained neck after playing through a left shoulder injury.
Both tried to do their best to be able to play in Game 2 with Dragic, who is the Heat's leading scorer all throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs, focusing on pain management and Adebayo trying to accelerate his recovery.
Spoelstra, however, had to make the hard decision of not letting them play despite needing to even the Finals series with the Lakers.
He said that they were warriors as they continue to lobby to play despite their injuries but for the head coach the only course of action for now is to let them rest, get treated and give them time to recover.
The Heat nearly had it too despite changing their lineup for the first time in the playoffs.
Knowing the Lakers were a handful, Tyler Herro stepped in for Dragic becoming the youngest player in NBA history to start in a Finals game.
Meyers Leonard, who started in 49 games in the regular season, stepped back into the starting lineup as the starting center.
In the absence of both, much of the burden fell on the shoulders of All-Star wing Jimmy Butler who came through with 25 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds.
The Heat's defense though was not enough to contain the Lakers big men without Adebayo. His absence, unfortunately, allowed the Lakers to shot 51.0 percent from the field. They were also able to sink 16 treys and pull down 16 offensive rebounds.
It did not help that LeBron James and Anthony Davis were having one of the best games of their lives with James finishing with a game-high 33 points while Davis chipped in 30 points.
The Lakers also got much help from Rajon Rondo who contributed 16 points, 10 assists and four rebounds in just 26 minutes on the court.
The Heat had a plan to keep up with the Lakers and they nearly made it as they stayed in the game especially in the second and third quarters.
However, the zone on defense and slow on offense plan did not allow for lapses and when the Heat started making them, the Lakers pounced.
One such situation was during the second quarter with a little more than three minutes left into the halftime break. With just a three-minute lapse, the Lakers were able to make a four-point lead balloon to 17 points.
Yet, it was really in the fourth quarter that the Lakers started pull away despite the Heat shooting 31-for-34 of its freebies.
Butler said it did not matter if they are down 2-0, they are still expected to win when they face the Lakers for Game 3 on Sunday, Oct. 4.
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