Despite a dominating performance in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers are far from content as they head into Game 2 on Friday.
“We’ve got so much more work to do,” said LeBron James, who had 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists in the Lakers’ 116-98 win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday near Orlando. “The job is not done, and we’re not satisfied with winning one game. It’s that simple.”
Anthony Davis had 34 points on 11-of-21 shooting in the first NBA Finals of his eight-year career. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 13 points, Danny Green chipped in 11 and Alex Caruso contributed 10 for Los Angeles, which led by as much as 32 at one point.
Injuries are a major concern for Miami. Guard Goran Dragic (plantar fascia tear in left foot) and center Bam Adebayo (neck strain) were listed as doubtful on Thursday’s injury report. Both were forced to leave Wednesday’s loss.
“You have to go through your Plan A, Plan B, Plan C,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Thursday, according to the Miami Herald. “We love getting to work with this group. … It’s just looking for solutions and trying to get to a better version of our game against a quality opponent.”
Dragic did not play in the second half, finishing with six points on 3-of-8 shooting in 15 minutes. Adebayo also did not come back after leaving midway through the third quarter. He had eight points on 2-of-8 shooting in 21 minutes.
Without them, particularly Adebayo inside, the Lakers controlled the glass and outrebounded the Heat 54-36. Los Angeles also went to the line more, hitting 25 of 27 attempts to 11 of 14 for Miami. Davis was 10-for-10.
“The Lakers set the tenor, the force, the physicality for the majority of the game, and they just took control and we weren’t able to get it back,” Spoelstra said.
Jimmy Butler had 23 points while Kendrick Nunn delivered 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting off the bench for the Heat.
Tyler Herro finished with 14 points but converted just 6-of-18 shots and 2-of-8 3-pointers. Jae Crowder added 12 points but rookie guard Duncan Robinson, who averaged 12.5 points in the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics, didn’t score in 27 minutes.
“We’ve just got to be tougher,” Butler said. “We’ve got to put up more of a fight. I don’t think that we did that and then it doesn’t help whenever we don’t make shots. It’s been that way all year long whenever we start to miss a couple of shots, we don’t do what we’re supposed to on the other end.”
The Lakers performed well on both ends. After trailing by 13 in the first quarter, the Lakers blitzed the Heat with a 77-32 swing from midway through the second quarter to the middle of the third after a Davis dunk put them up 87-55.
“I don’t think at the beginning that we were physical enough,” James said. “You actually have to get a feel for how hard Miami plays. I think they smacked us in the mouth, and we got a sense of that.”
–Field Level Media