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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Miami find no answers to Lakers’s scoring spree

Miami Heat went down 114-124 to go 0-2 in the 2020 NBA Finals to LeBron James and Anthony Davis’ Los Angeles Lakers.

Written by Shashank Nair | New Delhi | Updated: October 4, 2020 8:39:30 am
nbaLos Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis (3) and LeBron James (23) during Game 2 of NBA Finals (AP Photo)

The Miami Heat played better than their Game 1 showing and it still wasn’t enough as they went down 114-124 to go 0-2 in the 2020 NBA Finals to LeBron James and Anthony Davis’ Los Angeles Lakers at Disney World in Orlando. Both LeBron (33) and Davis (32) combined for 65 points in the win while Heat’s Jimmy Butler had 25 points, 13 rebounds and right assists in the loss.

A tussle for Finals MVP

For all talk of where this series is going, it’s starting to look like the real competition is for who will be the Finals MVP. Both Anthony Davis and LeBron James are neck-and-neck in the race, especially considering the duties they have taken up for the Lakers. James secured a 33-point near triple double with nine rebounds and nine assists but Davis was not far behind with 32 points and 14 rebounds. What differentiated the two though was Davis taking defensive responsibility for the Heat’s best player in Jimmy Butler.

Lakers’ volume drowns Heat efficiency

If there was a game that would break the Heat’s back, it would have been Game 2. Miami were 50.7% from 2s, 40.7% from 3s and 91.2% from the free-throw line. How many teams can achieve a 50-40-90 stat in an NBA Finals game and still lose? Simply put, Miami’s efficiency was on point but their volume wasn’t. The Heat attempted 26 fewer shots than the Lakers and on an overall made 13 shots fewer than the Lakers. The loss of Miami’s defensive fulcrum Bam Adebayo to injury in the first game has hurt them.

Miami’s defence is faltering

A reason for the Lakers offence managing to get by with volume and 16-47 three-point shooting in the NBA Finals simply comes down to Miami’s misfortunes. The Lakers’ greatest scoring threat is Anthony Davis and with no Bam Adebayo in Game 2 to guard him, the four-time All-NBA First Team player took the Heat apart. Davis made 15-20 shots with most of them coming directly under the basket and only one of those shots being a three-pointer. Myers Leonard and Kelly Olynyk were most definitely not the answers to the questions that Davis kept putting up. Heat’s Tyler Herro might be the youngest player in history to play in the NBA Finals, but it’s tough to fathom how the rookie can defend players with length in the paint.

Height matters

The Lakers in Game 1 immediately moved up Dwight Howard (2.11 metres) to the starting line-up and it’s clear why. In Game 1, LA outrebounded Miami by 18. Yesterday, Anthony Davis had eight offensive rebounds to his name – half of his team’s total. No matter how efficient Miami were, the Lakers simply bullied them on their side of the court and having both Davis and Howard together helped on that end. Miami’s lack of volume could also be attributed to them just not making enough rebounds and holding onto the ball during their possession.

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