Thoughts on the Lakers’ Dominance, and the First Two Games of the 2020 NBA Finals

October 2nd, 2020

By Alan Lu

Game 2 Thoughts:

Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar big man, Anthony Davis scored 32 points on 15-of-20 shooting, and grabbed 14 rebounds, as he was dominant in the Lakers’ Game 2 win over the Miami Heat. The Lakers lead 2-0 in the 2020 NBA Finals.
(Photo:
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

It was expected that the Los Angeles Lakers would win Game 2 quite easily, especially since Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic were out due to injuries.  That is exactly what happened.  LeBron James and Anthony Davis were excellent in this basketball game, and they were absolutely unstoppable.  Miami was a little more competitive than expected, and Kelly Olynyk brought some new life to the Heat with his strong ability to score the basketball in this game.  Jimmy Butler also played well, as he would drive to the hoop at will to score, and he nearly had a triple-double.

On the other hand, the Lakers were just too good and too powerful for the Heat to overcome.  The Heat had no answers for LeBron or AD, and they also sorely missed both the playmaking skills of Dragic, and the rim protection abilities of Bam Adebayo.  The Lakers’ point guard play was very good.  Rajon Rondo was back in his “Playoff Rondo” form, as he excelled as a scorer and facilitator, and Alex Caruso also made timely shots and defended well.  The Lakers’ other wing players, such as Danny Green and KCP struggled to make outside shots, as they did not play nearly as well as they did in Game 1, but LeBron and Anthony Davis were relentless in making plays on both ends of the floor to get Los Angeles the game 2 win for their team.

Among the other players on Miami’s team, Tyler Herro certainly played better than how he did in Game 1, and he didn’t force up as many bad shots today. He shot better, and he was able to score 17 points off the bench, and the Heat will need him to play well in order to remain competitive in this series. Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala also shot the ball well, as they were playing unselfishly, and due to good ball movement, they were able to knock down open shots on offense. Kendrick Nunn was able to score and put up some quick points off the bench, but he struggled to distribute the basketball at times on offense. For Duncan Robinson, he still had trouble getting going against the Lakers, because he hasn’t had nearly as many open, catch-and-shoot opportunities, and he has not really defended well in addition. As a result, he was not really on the floor late in crunch time today.

From how the series is going right, the Los Angeles Lakers could easily sweep the Heat if Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo don’t return to play in the 2020 NBA Finals, and the Lakers could still make quick work of the Heat in this series, especially since Miami has not defended LeBron or AD well at all, and the Lakers are both shooting and defending very well out here.  LeBron and Anthony Davis absolutely willed their way to help the Lakers get both wins, and the Los Angeles Lakers are a terrific basketball team that are well-positioned to win the series in 4 or 5 games to win the championship this year.

Game 1 Thoughts:

Los Angeles Lakers’ legendary forward, LeBron James scored 25 points, and had 13 rebounds and 9 assists in his team’s double-digit Game 1 win over the Miami Heat. After a surprisingly good start from Miami in the first quarter, the Los Angeles Lakers rallied back and built up a big lead to run away with the victory in the opening game of the 2020 NBA Finals.
(Photo:
Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

In addition, The Los Angeles Lakers won handily in Game 1 of the 2020 NBA Finals, and they won in a lopsided affair against the Miami Heat.  LeBron and AD were too good, too strong, and too amazing for their opponents to overcome, but early on, it appeared as if Game 1 was headed to end up being a competitive match.

For a while, it appeared as if Game 1 of the 2020 NBA Finals would be a close one.  The Miami Heat got off to an astonishingly good start, as they built up a surprising 13-point lead in the first quarter.  Jimmy Butler did a great job of scoring the basketball early, as he was scoring on aggressive drives, and was knocking down jumpers.  Goran Dragic excelled at creating shots for his teammates off of speedy, drive and kick plays to set up scores for them, and Jae Crowder was knocking down open threes early on.

Suddenly, the tide started turning late in the first quarter.  When the Los Angeles Lakers downshifted by subbing out Dwight Howard and by going to Anthony Davis at center, they were able to match up to the speed and quickness of the Heat, and their reserves, Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Markieff Morris did a very good job of knocking down spot-up threes to space the floor for their team.  Playoff Rondo was in action, KCP was red-hot in making threes from beyond the arc in Game 1, and Markieff Morris looked to be definitively the best Morris twin out on the court in that game.

When Goran Dragic went down, the wheels starting come off.  The Miami Heat lost a playmaking facilitator that could generate easy shots and open looks for his teammates, and it was bad enough for them that they were getting almost nothing from Duncan Robinson or Tyler Herro early on.  For the Lakers, LeBron James and Anthony Davis played tremendously, as they drove to the hoop at will, made timely threes, and played very good all-around games to will their team to victory.  Anthony Davis certainly has been shooting the three-ball way better than he ever has, and he’s looked like a stronger version of Kevin Durant in the playoffs, but with even more defensive skills.  Also, Danny Green was knocking down threes, scored on crafty floaters off the dribble, and he also passed and defended well when he was on the court.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler cooled off in the second quarter, and Miami really struggled on both ends of the floor.  Not only could they not stop LeBron or AD, but Butler, Bam Adebayo, and their team had trouble generating offense.  Their wasn’t nearly as much ball movement on their end that they had in the first quarter, and the Heat kept trying to drive into traffic in vain attempts to score, but they would routinely miss on badly, contested shots.  Tyler Herro made a couple of shots in the second quarter that seemed like he would get going, only for him to end up chucking and forcing up a lot of bad, contested shots that would often result in misses.  Bam Adebayo had trouble scoring or being as good of a facilitator as he was against the Eastern Conference teams in Game 1 against the Lakers, and guarding Anthony Davis appeared to take a toll on him, as he ended up getting hurt, and he will likely miss considerable time with a neck injury that he sustained late in this game.

Late in the game though, the Heat did receive some offense from rookie guard, Kendrick Nunn, who showed a solid ability to score off of quick drives to the basket, and Nunn provided his team with a speedy pick and roll ball handler that can generate some offense for his team.  He mostly looked to score, but he did show the ability to drop the ball off to his teammates to get some assists, and he could end up playing a bigger role in this series, especially if Dragic is unable to return to play in the NBA Finals.

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