Lakers demolish Heat in injury-stricken Game 1 of 2020 NBA Finals

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images /

The Los Angeles Lakers demolished the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the 2020 NBA Finals.

Game 1 of the 2020 NBA Finals couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for the Miami Heat. They held a 13-point lead over the heavily-favored Los Angeles Lakers early on, everyone was still healthy and for a brief moment, Twitter was abuzz imagining how fun this first championship series in the post-Golden State Warriors Reign of Terror era could be.

Then Anthony Davis and the Lakers started to dominate, and everything fell apart for Miami — both for Game 1 and possibly the rest of the Finals.

In a dominant series opener, LeBron James and company left no room for doubt with a relentless 18-point beatdown of the Heat squad that had shocked to world to even reach this stage. AD led the way with 34 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists in his first Finals appearance, while James chipped in 25 points, 13 boards and 9 dimes.

The Lakers also got 13 points out of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, 11 from Danny Green and 31 total from the bench. They also knocked down an impressive 15 of their 38 3-pointers, putting the Heat’s formidable defense to shame with near 40 percent shooting from downtown.

Miami, meanwhile, was led by 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting from Jimmy Butler, 18 from Kendrick Nunn in garbage time and 14 from Tyler Herro, who shot 6-for-18 and was a staggering minus-35 overall.

More distressing that this humbling loss, however, is the rash of injuries the Heat sustained in Game 1 that could see the Lakers cruise to their 17th championship in four or five quick games. Heading into Game 2, Butler (ankle), Goran Dragic (foot) and Bam Adebayo (shoulder) are all banged up, and Game 1 couldn’t have gone any worse after such a promising start.

20. Final. 98. 110. 116

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It looked like the Heat were ready to make a big statement early in Game 1, as they surged to a 23-10 lead behind a 13-0 run. But as the subs continued to trickle in, Los Angeles struck back, ending the quarter on a 19-3 streak to take a 31-28 advantage heading into the second period. While Miami did a nice job limited the Lakers to two shot attempts from the restricted area in the opening quarter, LA knocked down 5 of 10 3-pointers to pull in front.

The surprising disparity between the Lakers’ bench and Miami’s highly vaunted bench grew larger in the second quarter, as the Western Conference champs built a 57-45 lead behind some stellar 3-point shooting. By halftime, the Lakers had gone on a 53-23 run, knocking down 11 of their 17 3-pointers.

Even worse, Jimmy Butler turned his ankle:

Though Butler stayed in the game and looked okay to close out the first half, the Heat were left staring at a 65-48 deficit at the break following the 30-point turnaround.

Things went from bad to downright terrible in the third quarter, as Goran Dragic was ruled as doubtful to return with a left foot injury, robbing the Heat of one of their best penetrators and offensive weapons. He received an X-ray on his foot, but early reports feared he may be done for the series.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported he suffered a plantar tear in his foot, leaving his status for the rest of the series in doubt. To this point, however, he has not ruled out a return to action in the Finals:

The Lakers continued to throw haymakers in the second half, going up by as many as 32 points to all but put Game 1 out of reach. From the point early in the first quarter when Miami led 23-10, the Lakers went on a massive 77-32 spree to take an 87-55 lead, their largest of the night.

Then, just to add further injury to insult, Bam Adebayo exited the game with an apparent shoulder injury — the same shoulder he injured in the Eastern Conference Finals.

From here, all the Heat can do is lick their wounds, pray Dragic, Adebayo and Butler are okay for Game 2 and give thanks that this humiliating defeat only counts as one loss.

For the Lakers, they can already smell the blood in the water as they circle championship No. 17.

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