The Los Angeles Lakers really took it to the Miami Heat in game one, winning 116-98 in a game where the Lakers led by as much as 32 points. Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 34 points, as the Heat were battered in this game on the scoreboard and on the court as Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Goran Dragic both sustained injuries. Butler was able to play through it and should be good to go for game two, but Adebayo and Dragic are both being reported as “doubtful”.
Jimmy Butler was asked about the injuries mounting while the Heat face their first series deficit of the playoffs, displaying the confidence that we’ve come to expect from the NBA veteran (reported by Malika Andrews of ESPN):
“Everybody probably thought (the Lakers) were gonna do that to us anyway. They probably think they’re gonna do it to us three more times in a row. I beg to differ.”
Jimmy Butler, reacting to the mounting Heat injuries: “They say when it’s bad, when it rains, it pours. All in all, though, we’re still expecting to win. We got here for a reason. We realize we belong…”
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) October 1, 2020
Butler and the Heat can display confidence as much as they want, but they will have to really bring it in game two if they are without Adebayo and Dragic. One player who will have to step up is Tyler Herro, who had the game low plus/minus at -35. Although Butler has confidence, he echoed Herro’s comments below about how the Heat can’t make any mistakes against the stout Lakers.
Tyler Herro, like Jimmy Butler, acknowledged the difficulty of matching up with the Lakers: “We almost have to play a perfect game to beat them.”
He pointed to Miami’s defense, physicality and rebounding as key places to improve from Game 1.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 1, 2020
Reading this, you can probably tell that I have confidence in the Lakers in this series. Maybe not as much confidence as Butler has in his Heat, but still, a lot of confidence. But still, the Lakers only ended up winning by 18 after leading by as much as 32. The biggest reason for their large lead early on was because of their lights out three-point shooting that stabilized in the second half. The Lakers’ three-point shooting is definitely not their strongest suit, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens in a game where their threes aren’t falling.