Two points in the first quarter. That was the biggest lead the Miami Heat would hold in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. The Lakers led the rest of the rest of the way, casually dominating just enough to take a 124-114 win and 2-0 lead in the series. They remain undefeated (4-0) in their Black Mamba jerseys.
The Heat kept this game nominally close, but every time they cut their deficit to single digits, the Lakers seemed to have a counterpunch to put it back out of reach. Credit to Miami for giving an exemplary effort — especially in the second half after a motivational speech from 40-year-old bench veteran Udonis Haslem — but without two starters in Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo, they just didn’t have the horses to compete in this one.
Allowing the Heat to stay in this games as much as anything was how three happy the Lakers got. The team shot 34% from deep as a whole while taking 47 threes (the most in NBA Finals history), but starting backcourt Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope combined to go 3-19. If they had hit a few more of those, this one would have been a blowout.
Leading the way for the Lakers in overcoming that disadvantage — like he’s done for much of the playoffs — was Anthony Davis, who exploded for 32 points on 15-20 shooting while also pulling down 14 rebounds and generally being a menace defensively. Davis was especially active on the offensive glass and on cuts to the rim against Miami’s zone, freeing himself up for easy passes from LeBron James (a somehow-quiet 33 points, 9 assists and 9 rebounds).
Davis was also devastating in isolation as he continued to be scorching hot on his jumpers, shooting over the Heat’s smaller defenders like they were traffic cones set up in practice. Structurally and schematically, and especially without Adebayo, the Heat just don’t appear to have an answer for him.
Additionally, Playoff Rondo was great again in this one, giving L.A. 16 points, 10 assists and 4 rebounds off the bench while hitting three of his four threes. He continues to be a force of nature when he wants to be.
The Lakers deserve credit for not having a letdown here despite playing with their food in the second half a little bit. They didn’t play like a team that had a massive talent advantage while building their lead in the first half though, locking down on defense and respecting the Heat players who were out there with their effort. We’ll see if reinforcements are coming to make things more competitive on Sunday when these two teams will see each other again for Game 3.