NBA Finals, Game 1 analysis: Miami stood no chance

Recency bias will get you in big trouble if you’re an NBA fan. At some point, logic has to come into play. The Miami Heat are a good team, and they’ve more than exceeded this season’s expectations, but to think they would match up well with the Lakers is an uneducated thought. The Lakers won Game 1 of the NBA Finals 116-98.

Box Score

The fact is, LeBron James isn’t going to let a team without a First or Second Team All-NBA player or a first-ballot Hall-of-Fame caliber player on their roster give him problems in the playoffs. It hasn’t happened, and I don’t anticipate it ever happening.

Miami started Game 1 on fire, going up 25-15 after the Lakers turned the ball over four times in the first few minutes of the game. The Lakers turned things around quickly, going on a 16-3 run en route to a 31-28 end of the first quarter.

Do I need to continue? From the end of the first quarter on, the Lakers dominated the rest of the game. What’s alarming for the Heat is that LA was up double-digits with everyone for Miami healthy. Right before halftime, though, Jimmy Butler twisted his ankle, and things went downhill rapidly in the second half.

Butler, still hobbling, fought through and continued playing in the second half, but not too far apart, Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo left the game. Dragic left with a foot injury that may have him sidelined for the rest of the series, and Adebayo left after re-aggravating a past shoulder injury. While Adebayo’s shoulder shouldn’t threaten his status for the remainder of the series, Dragic potentially being out for the series makes this even more of an uphill battle for the Heat.

Shannon Sharpe from the Undisputed said that James and Anthony Davis would have to combine for 60 points to win Game 1. The second-highest scoring duo in Lakers history combined for 59 and still won the game by 18 points. The Lakers won this game in such dominant fashion because of their role players.

The conversation through the entire bubble was, “who will be LA’s third option?” That’s a complicated question because the Lakers have about four third options. That was on display Wednesday night. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (13), Danny Green (11), and Alex Caruso (10) combined for 34 points, which made up for the voided “third man.” Rajon Rondo and Markieff Morris combined for 15 points.

Miami’s bench outscored LA’s 47-28, but if they wouldn’t have, the Lakers would have won the game by 30. Not to mention, the clear mismatch in the paint in favor of the Lakers, who outrebounded the Heat 54-36.

LA’s bench did what they needed to do, the duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis did what they needed to do, and the Lakers won Game 1 of the NBA Finals by 18 points, and it wasn’t that close.

Game 2 is on Friday.

Addam M. Francisco

Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

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