- The Miami Heat were trounced by the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals losing 116-98.
- The Lakers easily covered as a -4.5 favorite and are now -1000 favorites to win the NBA Title.
- Miami lost two key players during the game–Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo–and they are listed as ‘questionable’ for Friday’s Game 2.
The Los Angeles Lakers took one step closer to a NBA Championship on Wednesday night as they trounced the Miami Heat 116-98. The Lakers covered as a -4.5 favorite and the total went ‘Under’ 218. Unders have gone 44-33-1 so far in the NBA playoffs. Anthony Davis made the most of his first appearance in the NBA Finals and finished with 34 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
For Davis, this season has been a profound turnaround. When he essentially forced his way out of New Orleans last year he became the prime example of everything bad about the NBA. His behavior led to concerns about his ‘mental game’ even after he joined the Los Angeles Lakers. Instead, he’s become a force capable of dominating on offense and defense. Teammate Markieff Morris gave him this praise:
“It’s easy for AD. Like I’ve been saying since I got on this team, honestly, if you ask me … we got LeBron [James], but I think he’s the best player in the world.”
“He [does] it on both ends, he’s doing it consistently every night, he gives you what you ask for every night.”
As ESPN reported, Davis is now in some impressive company after his Game 1 showing:
Davis’ Finals debut performance is surpassed only by some all-time greats. Since the NBA-ABA merger (1976-77), only Allen Iverson (48 points), Kevin Durant (36 points) and Michael Jordan (36 points) have scored more points than Davis in their first Finals game.
And when it comes to the Lakers’ storied franchise history, Davis’ 34-point Game 1 performance is behind only Shaquille O’Neal’s 43 points and George Mikan’s 42 points for most points by a player in his Lakers Finals debut.
Davis is humbled to be in that group but has not lost focus on the eventual goal:
“It’s a great honor to be in that category with those guys. I mean, they have done so much for the game, Hall of Famers, and for me to come out and perform that way and be mentioned with those guys … obviously that’s a great honor, but I also want to be mentioned in categories with champions, so that’s the next step.”
While Davis ran roughshod over the Heat the concern among Miami’s players and coaches is injuries. Goran Dragic (plantar fascia), Jimmy Butler (ankle) and Bam Adebayo (shoulder) all left with injuries in Game 1. Butler was able to return but Dragic and Adebayo were not. Butler is now listed as ‘probable’ for Game 2 while Dragic and Adebayo are listed as ‘questionable’. Power forward Adebayo would be especially difficult to replace and is the team’s leading rebounder (10.9 per game). Miami gets scoring from all over the roster and has six players averaging in double digits. Even so, replacing the combined 37.7 PPG of Dragic and Adebayo would be tough.
The Lakers are -8 point favorites in Friday’s Game 2 with the total set at 217.