2020 NBA Finals | Lakers vs. Heat
The Finals Stat, Game 2: Lakers ridiculously efficient
The Los Angeles Lakers are two wins away. In what was a very different game from Game 1, the Lakers got 65 combined points on 64% shooting from LeBron James (33, along with nine rebounds and nine assists) and Anthony Davis (32 and 14 rebounds) to keep the Miami Heat at bay for a 124-114 victory in Game 2 of The Finals on Friday.
Playing without starters Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo, the Heat got a big game (25 points, eight rebounds and 13 assists) from Jimmy Butler. For just the third time this season, they shot at least 50% from the field, at least 40% from 3-point range, and at least 90% from the free-throw line. But Miami just couldn’t get the stops it needed to make things interesting down the stretch.
One stat stood out from the rest as the Lakers took a 2-0 series lead.
|OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
eFG% = (FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA
TO% = Turnovers per 100 possessions
OREB% = % of available offensive rebounds obtained
134.8 — Lakers’ points scored per 100 possessions.
That was the third most efficient Finals performance in the 24 years for which we have play-by-play data, topped only by the Cavs’ 137 points on 95 possessions (144.2 per 100) in Game 4 in 2017 and the Celtics’ 131 points on 96 possessions (136.5 per 100) in Game 6 in 2008.
The Heat had their most efficient game of the playoffs (114 points on 91 possessions), and they lost by double digits. Counting the regular season, they were 22-1 when they scored at least 118 per 100 prior to Friday.
But from outside the restricted area, the score was Lakers 76, Heat 41. The zone did its job in keeping L.A. (mostly) away from the basket and off the free-throw line. The percentage of their shots that came in the restricted area (27/97, 28%) was their second-lowest rate of the playoffs. And the Lakers’ free throw rate (17.5 attempts per 100 shots from the field) was also their second lowest of the postseason.
But they were 9-for-11 (Davis and James were each 4-for-5) on non-restricted area shots in the paint and a solid 5-for-12 from mid-range.
Often, when a team is shorthanded, it will shoot a ton of 3s, going for a win by variance. On Friday, it appeared that, with the zone, the Heat’s strategy was for the Lakers (a bottom-10 3-point shooting team in the regular season) to launch from deep early and often. And the Lakers set both a Finals record and a franchise postseason record with 47 3-point attempts.
They didn’t shoot the lights out, but they were good enough, making 16 (34%) of those 47 3s. Starting guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Danny Green were a combined 3-for-19. But James (3-for-8) and Davis (1-for-1) made their share and the Lakers’ bench was 9-for-19 from deep.
It was a wild game, with the teams combining to score 74 points on just 43 possessions (1.72 per) in the third quarter. As dominant as the Lakers looked at times, they kept the Heat hanging around, because they couldn’t get stops themselves. But the defense didn’t matter, because the offense was off the charts.
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