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THE NBA FINALS – GAME 1

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The NBA organization, teams, players, staff, have worked tirelessly for 82 games to reach this point: The NBA FINALS 2020!

This is the stage to cement your legacy, to be remembered as one of the greats to grace the floor of the NBA. Nothing comes close to this moment. The Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers, winners of their respective conferences are looking to re-write their names in the basketball history books. Miami looking to win their 4th ring, and the Lakers are looking to win their franchise record and tie the league record 17th ring in this finals match-up.

Let’s see how Game 1 of this NBA finals panned out.

Game 1 NBA Finals : Los Angeles Lakers v/s Miami Heat (116-98)

Lakers lead series 1 – 0

NBA Finals Game 1
Image Source: Twitter

Starting Lineups:

  • LA Lakers : Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard
  • Miami Heat : Goran Dragic, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, Bam Adebayo

Quarter Analysis :

  • Quarter 1: With Adebayo having to deal with the bigger-stronger Howard, Jae Crowder (6 ft. 6″) had the assignment of guarding the multi-dimensional Anthony Davis (6 ft. 10″). The Heat got off to a quick start, going on a 13 point run courtesy of Jimmy Butler (4-4 from the field at this point) and Bam Adebayo. Heat using their patented zone defense to force LA’s 5 turnovers in that run. LBJ got to work early by orchestrating his team’s offense to find the open shooter (KCP making two 3s and having 10 points) and attacking the basket along with AD to earn trips to the free throw line. Both teams had double digit runs in the quarter, owning to turnovers on the defense resulting in points on the other end. Quarter ended at  31-28.

 

  • Quarter 2: The Heat opting for small-ball lineup in the absence of AD, resulted in open looks at 3s for Butler and Tyler Herro by virtue of their good ball movement. Butler had 14 points at this time. Heat had the lead with 43-41 at 7:30 in the quarter, but that’s when the game started slipping away from them. With AD back in the game alongside LBJ, Lakers went on a 13 point scoring run to take the lead with 54-43 at 6:09 in the game. The Heat went back to their zone defense, but LeBron broke it down using high screens at the top of the 3PT line(7 assists) to make paths for him and Davis to attack the basket (10-10 free throws made). Laker’s bench was pivotal in this scoring outburst, which saw the team make 11 3s in the first half, tying the franchise record. Quarter ended at 65-48.

Note: Jimmy Butler rolls his left ankle on a layup. Continues playing.

Goran Dragic doesn’t return to the court following a left foot injury.

  • Quarter 3: We know Jimmy Butler isn’t one to give up, coming out of the half by making a 3 pointer, scoring 19 points on 8-11 shooting. Miami needs him to score more if they want to stay in this ball game. James, AD and Howard proved too much in the paint for the Heat. LBJ gets the smaller defender on him, passes the ball to AD with the mis-match; AD gets doubled and passes to the open Howard to dunk the ball in over the smaller defender in the paint. Lakers length and offense terrorized the Heat. The Heat weren’t able to get any shots to fall during this onslaught. To make things worse, Bam Adebayo headed to the locker room with a shoulder injury. The absence of Dragic and Adebayo saw the entry of Kendrick Nunn and Kelly Olynyk. Quarter ended at 93-67.

Note: Bam Adebayo doesn’t return for the rest of the game.

  • Quarter 4: K. Nunn was the aggressor in the 4th quarter, scoring 18 points in 20 mins, bringing down the lead from 32 to 18 points. This run was mainly due to relaxed shot-taking and incohesive defense by the Lakers in the 4th quarter owing to their large lead. It’s tough to saw a game is over when there’s still more than 5 minutes on the clock and the opponent is on a hot trail; realizing the complacency displayed by the bench/role players, LBJ stepped on the court alongside AD and put the game out of Heat’s reach. The Lakers secured game 1 victory owing to dominant offensive performances from their 2 stars in Lebron (25p, 13r, 9a) and Davis (34p, 9r, 5a) to go along with an incredible shooting night for the team, 15-38(39.5%) 3PT shooting and 25-27 (92.5%) FT line.

Factors heading into Game 2 NBA Finals :

  • The Miami Heat need their starting players in Dragic and Adebayo to play 35+ mins if they want to win this series. Only of course if they are fit to play. (Dragic suffered a torn  plantar of left foot and Adebayo has a left shoulder strain)

Bobby Marks, former AGM of the Brooklyn Nets tweeted this : Joe Johnson suffered a torn plantar fascia in his foot during G2 of the 2013 first round vs. Chicago. Johnson would go on to receive an injection in his foot before each game. He would struggle shooting 25.6% from 3 and 41.7% from the field. 2/14 in a G7 loss.

  • Lakers will have to continue their hot shooting streak from the first game if they are looking to end this series quickly. LBJ and AD have to continue being the dominant forces for their team.
  • Miami Heat’s pedigree is their 3-PT shooting. They shot 11-35 from behind the arc, weak statistic for them if they want to win games.
  • With a size advantage over the Heat, they might have to start playing man-to-man coverage instead of zone; zone allows opposition players to get inside to get rebounds because there is no one person per player to box out.

 

My Pick : Lakers win the series in 5 Games.

Game 2 of the NBA Finals will take place on Saturday morning at 6:30 AM IST.

Also Read: NEW EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS- Game 6 of ECF

 

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