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THE NBA FINALS – GAME 2 REVIEW

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Hard work takes you places where talent alone can’t. But when you combine superior talent with hard work, it trumps all other permutation and combinations. The Los Angeles Lakers have the 2 best players on the court at all times. What can one expect?

We know, luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. The Miami Heat have worked hard all year long-beating their odds of 75-1 to make it to the finals, and are now battling with the LA Lakers for their shot at the NBA Championship. That window of opportunity might be closing on the Heat.

lebron and davis
Image Source: Twitter.com

Game 2 NBA FinalsLos Angeles Lakers v/s Miami Heat (124-114)

[Lakers lead series 2-0]

Starting Lineups in NBA FINALS GAME 2:

  • LA Lakers: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard
  • Miami Heat: Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, Meyers Leonard

Note: (Miami) Bam Adebayo (neck strain) and Goran Dragic (torn plantar) are out for Game 2 with injury.

Quarter Analysis of NBA FINALS GAME 2:

  • Quarter 1: The Heat started out playing man-to-man defense- Crowder on Davis and Butler on LeBron. The introduction of Meyers Leonard to the starting line-up was done to space the floor, setting high pick-and-rolls for the guards to knock down three’s (Herro and Crowder). While the Heat were looking to score from the perimeter, Lakers’ big men Howard, Davis and LBJ were aggressive to the basket – scoring 12 of starting 14 points in the paint. When second units for the teams came in, the Heat switched to zone defense. Kelly Olynyk, Kendrick Nunn and Butler facilitated Heat’s offense with their ball movement and found open 3-point shooters to keep them from trailing by a big margin. LBJ and AD got to work- picking apart Heat’s zone by playing behind their defensive line and attacking the basket. Lakers outscored Heat 18-6 in points in the paint. The quarter ended at 29-23 for the Lakers.

Note: It took the Celtic’s 7 games to figure out Heat’s zone. It took LeBron and Rondo 7 possessions.

  • Quarter 2: LA came out the quarter firing, with LBJ and Alex Caruso each hitting 3’s. Lakers dominating the rebounding category at this moment: 14-9. Duncan Robinson continued his tough start in the finals by shooting 0-4 from the 3PT line, primarily due to the Laker’s well-coordinated defense. With his team down by 10 points, Jimmy Butler stepped it up. Facilitating his team’s offense (7 assists), driving to the lane for free throws (Miami made 10-11 at this point) and getting 9 points – the Heat closed the gap to less than 5 points. Rondo, a floor-general, pushed the tempo on the offense, got 2 alley-oops for his co-stars LBJ and AD. Lakers utilized this momentum to open up a double-digit advantage in the score. The quarter ended at 68-54.

Note: Lakers make 9 of 27 3PT attempts, the most attempts in a half in the Finals history.

  • Quarter 3: Anthony Davis was like clock-work on the offensive end. Shooting 14-16 from the field with 30 points, the LA star was the focal point of their offense. Postgame, mid-range, 3PT shooting, put-backs, Davis was doing it all for the Lakers. If you are looking for a fighter, Jimmy Butler is your guy. Dishing out a career-high in assists, making free throws (18-19 from FT line for Miami at this point), Butler was desperate to keep his team in the game. During a Heat timeout when they were down by 18, Udonis Haslem was seen on the sides motivating and pushing his teammates to represent the Heat culture on the court – hard work and fight till the end. Heat understood what their veteran was saying and brought the lead down to 8 at one point, outscoring the Lakers barely in the quarter by 39-37. Rondo and LBJ sensing the Heat’s comeback pushed the pedal to the metal to end the quarter 103-93 in the Laker’s favor.

Note: Miami made 25 straight free throws at the end of 3 quarters: 25-26.

  • Quarter 4: Going back to what I said at the beginning of the article, talent + hard work > hard work. LeBron James and AD proved too much for the Heat, not allowing them to get back in the game after their 3rd quarter resurrection. Both teams were scrambling on defense, denying any easy buckets and forcing them to make tough shots. Rondo and LBJ’s high basketball IQ shredded Heat’s zone leading to an increase in LA’s lead. Butler could only do so much, playing 45 of 48 minutes- recording 25 points, 13 assists and 8 rebounds as the Heat succumbed to LBJ and AD’s combined effort of 60+ points to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.

 

Factors heading into Game 3:

  • The Lakers are the first team over the last 20 years to score 50 points and shoot 70 percent from the paint in a playoff game. The Heat desperately needs their main-man Bam Adebayo to be the focal point of their offense and defense if they have any chance of not getting swept. Bam told NBA media that he’ll be back for Game 3.
  • LeBron James had a special night: 33 points, 9 assists and ZERO turnovers. The last and only player in NBA Finals history to have at least 20 points and 9 assists with zero turnovers is Magic Johnson (1987, Game 1 -29 points, 13 assists, 0 turnovers). Miami needs to do a better job of ‘trying’ to slow down LeBron.
  • Miami needs their shooters in Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro and Jae Crowder to step it up quickly. Heat can’t hope to win if they only hit 11-27 3’s and Duncan has just 9 points in 22 minutes.
  • With a height disadvantage, Miami needs to put a collective effort on the glass and get rebounds. They’re getting outrebounded 52-41, and 16-6 on the offensive boards.
  • Lakers need to better their shot-making and get to the free-throw line more: 10-17 compared to Heat’s 31-34.

 

Game 3 of the NBA Finals will take place on Monday morning at 5:00 AM IST.

Also Read: Lakers go up by one as they win the first game of the NBA Western Conference Finals

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