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Three Takeaways From The Lakers’ Game 2 Win Over The Undermanned Heat

It was a disastrous start for the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, and the prognosis didn’t look much better heading into Game 2. Even before they were hobbled by injuries to several key players in their opener, the Lakers had dominated them on both ends of the court, leading by as many as 32 at one point en route to an easy win and a 1-0 series lead.

Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo were both sidelined for Game 2, compounding an already difficult situation for the Heat, who had no answer for the dominant play of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the latter of whom had one of the best Finals debuts in NBA history.

Despite a valiant effort from Jimmy Butler and company, it was more of the same in Game 2, as the Lakers held on for a 124-114 win behind another monster outing from their superstar duo, giving LeBron his first-ever 2-0 lead in an NBA Finals series. Here’s what we learned from Friday night’s action.

The Lakers’ Jekyll And Hyde Offense Continues

The Lakers were able to race out to such big lead in Game 1 in no small part thanks to their lights-out shooting from deep. That high-volume output was mostly a product of the Heat’s zone defense, which clearly wasn’t banking on the Lakers being able to knock down 11 first-half three-pointers, building a lead from which the Heat were never able to recover.

Rather than making too a drastic an adjustment in Game 2, Erik Spoelstra decided to make the Lakers prove they could replicate that success, and the result was a Finals record 47 three-point attempts for Los Angeles. Though they came back down to Earth a bit, starting 0-of-5 from downtown, the Lakers managed to make them in bunches, withstanding a third-quarter drought that nearly allowed the Heat back in it.

Yet despite opting to shoot over the zone at such a high clip, the Lakers were also able to exploit holes in the Heat defense by maneuvering their way into the paint and creating opportunities from there, as L.A. went for 30 points in the paint in the first half. That was mostly courtesy of LeBron and Rajon Rondo, who combined for 19 assists in the game. LeBron just missed a triple-double as he put up 33 points and nine rebounds, to go along with nine dimes.

The Lakers offense, however, stalled out at points in the second half, missing several consecutive shots from downtown in third period, allowing the Heat to hang around until they finally rediscovered their stroke again down the stretch and put Miami away for good. Ultimately, they were able prop up their offense and counter that streaky high-volume shooting by mixing it up with a healthy dose of inside-out action to pick apart the Heat zone.

Anthony Davis Is On A Mission

The Heat simply have no answer for Anthony Davis. Not that there is an answer to begin with. Davis started the game 10-of-11 from the field and scored nine straight points to start the second half as the Lakers built a 17-point lead. He showed the full arsenal — against multiple defenders no less — putting the ball on the floor and finishing at the rim and simply shooting over smaller defenders on the perimeter. He also hit the boards for six (!) offensive rebounds that turned into easy second-chance points, six of which came on consecutive possessions during one sequence in the third quarter.

The Lakers had a total of 21 second-chance points on Friday, thanks to 16 offensive rebounds on the night.

The Overshadowed Heat Offense Kept Them Alive

Despite starting the game 3-of-12 from three-point territory, scoring didn’t end up being the central problem for Miami on Friday night in Game 2. By the final buzzer, they’d shot better than 50 percent from the field and over 40 percent from downtown, with five players scoring in double figures.

The Heat needed Jimmy Butler to come up big with both Dragic and Adebayo out, and he did just that, leading the way with 25 points, 13 assists, and eight rebounds, but no amount of offense was going to be able to offset their woes on defense in Game 2 as the Lakers ran roughshod over them all night.

Kelly Olynyk was a breath of fresh air off the bench for Miami, particularly in third period, scoring 16 points on 6-of-9, including 3-of-6 from downtown. He finished with 24 points and nine rebounds.

As a team, they shot 12-of-14 from the field and 4-of-5 from downtown in the third quarter and made all 11 free throws. Combined with a Lakers dry spell, they trailed by just 10 going into the fourth quarter.

Miami got to the free throw line 34 times in this one, converting 29 in a row at one point. They were also able to goad the Lakers into foul trouble in the fourth, with Los Angeles picking up their fifth team foul by the midway mark of the final period and finding themselves in the penalty.

But their inability to withstand the Lakers’ offensive onslaught will continue to be their biggest problem as the series moves forward, even if they are able to get Dragic and Adebayo back in time for Game 3 on Sunday, where they will try to avoid a historically-insurmountable 3-0 series deficit. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

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