Lakers vs. Heat Game 1 Postgame

James & Davis Dominate in Game 1 of the NBA Finals

by Taylor Geas

It was a moment in time basketball fans weren’t sure they’d see, but tonight was the start of the 2020 NBA Finals. Representing the West, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the East-coast contenders, the Miami Heat, 116-98 in Game 1.

The Heat started the game on fire. The Lakers faced a 13-point deficit in the first quarter. Then, everything changed; being down fired the Lakers up.

Specifically, Anthony Davis (34 points, 9 rebounds) could not be stopped. He was so aggressive off the boards that the world witnessed yet another spectacular AD, 30+ game from the bubble. Tonight, Davis tied Lakers Legend Elgin Baylor for third-most points in a Finals debut in Lakers history — right behind George Mikan and Shaquille O’Neal It was pure: step, fire, hit, step, fire, hit from the big fella. And this was the same pattern for every player repping the Purple and Gold as the Lakers went 45% from the field.

The offensive success was possible because of LeBron James (25 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists). His tremendous passing and expert vision generated shots from the perimeter to the paint for his teammates... every teammate on the floor.

The Lakers answered Miami’s 13-point lead mentioned above, with 30 commanding points between the first and second quarter. The Lake Show’s bench was greatly responsible for this comeback. In fact, 20 of the Lakers’ 65 halftime points were from the second unit — and a majority orchestrated by LBJ.

Miami’s defense looked to pack the paint, the place on the floor they know the Lakers own. But the Lakers responded with a lethalness from three. Specifically, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (13 points). KCP changed the pace of the game by getting hot from three early. AD commended him by stating in his walk-off: “KCP saved us.” AD also stated, “If they’re gonna’ give us shots like that we gotta’ be able to knock them down.” The Lakers were certainly knocking with 15 triples from 9 guys. LeBron was one of those 9, moving to second in most 3-pointers in NBA Finals history.

Caldwell-Pope said at half, “As far as us, we just want to play Laker Basketball.” And it was Laker Basketball they played this Wednesday night. Coach Frank Vogel loved the energy, effort and hard work from his squad. The Lakers dominated Game 1, but tonight was one part of a big picture. The job is not done. LeBron talked postgame about his excitement to watch film with his teammates tomorrow, “We can be so much better,” he said.

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