Lakers take 2-0 NBA Finals lead on Heat

LA Times: “No one expected the Miami Heat to quit, heavy underdogs that they were. They came into the playoffs as the fifth seed, shocked the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, outlasted the Boston Celtics and forced their way into an NBA Finals they beat long odds to make. So even though Miami lost two starters to injury in Game 1, the Lakers expected a fight. Game 2 was that, but the Lakers prevailed, beating the Heat 124-114. LeBron James finished with 33 points and Anthony Davis scored 32. Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 25, while Kelly Olynyk scored 24 off the bench.”

OC Register: “The Lakers threw the usual gallon of Anthony Davis all over the Heat and put out that fire, but Rondo and Howard have been far more influential than any 20-something fan could have suspected. Howard scored six points in the first eight possessions for the Lakers, swatted away a drive by Jimmy Butler, and generally laid down orange cones all around the lane. Rondo took control of the second quarter when the Lakers were getting a little 3-point-happy against the Heat’s zone. He fed Davis for a bucket, scored from the middle of the lane, fed LeBron James, threw a sublime outlet to Davis on the run for another hoop, and then got four more points to put the Lakers up 16.”

OC Register: “James also finished with nine assists and nine rebounds, while Davis notched 14 rebounds. But even the superstars, who James noted Thursday “aren’t jealous of each other,” had at least one spat during one stretch as the Heat piled up 39 points in the third quarter to resuscitate their chances in what looked like a blowout. Davis smiled sheepishly: “Did y’all see something?” But the Lakers tinkered with their defense and got stops on a team playing without Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic, two of their three leading scorers. While Jimmy Butler put in a strong effort with 25 points and 13 assists, Miami was just 7 for 15 in the fourth quarter. The Lakers did not turn the ball over once.”

OC Register: “With a wing-heavy lineup and Davis in the middle, the Lakers managed to get enough buckets to cinch the win, with a dagger coming by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hitting just his second 3-pointer of the night on 11 attempts. The Lakers shot just 34 percent from deep, a key element to softening the zone. But the simple fact remains: James and Davis are too much talent for the Heat to handle. And by the end, Davis said, his tiff with James was forgotten.”

LA Times: “Rondo joined bench mates Alex Caruso, Markieff Morris and Kyle Kuzma to combine for 39 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists. They all played their roles the right way and that went a long way in helping the Lakers take a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals, leaving them two wins from winning the franchise’s 17th championship. Rondo led the way for the reserves, scoring 16 points on five-for-nine shooting, three-for-four on three-pointers, adding 10 assists and four rebounds. Morris had six points and five rebounds, Kuzma 11 points and two rebounds, and Caruso had six points, two rebounds and two assists.”

Sun Sentinel: “With Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic sidelined, the Heat lacked sufficient staying power Friday night against Anthony Davis and LeBron James, falling to 0-2 in the championship series with a 124-114 loss at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex. With Davis closing with 32 points on 15-of-20 shooting and 14 rebounds, and with James going for 33 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, there was no stopping a Lakers team that could close out this series as soon as Tuesday’s Game 4.”

Sun Sentinel: “No matter the injury list, the roster, the playing rotation, it has become clear the Heat do not have an answer for Davis. So after scoring 34 in Game 1, Davis picked up where he left off, becoming just the third player over the past 30 years to score 30 or more in each of their first two career Finals games, joining Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant. Davis and James became the first Lakers teammates to each score 30 or more in a Finals game since Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in 2002.”

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