Lakers win big in NBA Finals Game 1, beat Heat 116-98

OC Register: “Your team just got walloped in the opening game of the NBA Finals, with injuries to three of your stars added to the insult — what can you say? “Right now, it doesn’t really matter what you say,” Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra said after his team dropped Game 1, 116-98, a margin that doesn’t reflect how lopsided it was. “We get to work and get together tomorrow.” The most pressing problem for the Heat has to do with personnel. Big man Bam Adebayo played only 21 minutes before he left the game with a left shoulder strain and Jimmy Butler was hobbled much of the time with a sprained left ankle.”

OC Register: “Most concerning: Standout guard Goran Dragic reportedly suffered a torn plantar fascia in his left foot, likely when he’d dribbled into the lane looking to score.”

OC Register: “Kendrick Nunn was the lone bright spot on a dim night for Miami. The Rookie of the Year runner-up, whose playing time has been limited in the bubble after recovering from having the coronavirus and subsequently leaving the NBA campus for a personal reason unrelated to the disease.
But in Dragic’s stead, he looked more comfortable than the Lakers would have liked, finishing with 18 points in 19 minutes on 8-of-11 shooting.”

South Florida Sun Sentinel: “Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic received a preliminary diagnosis of a torn plantar fascia in his left foot after leaving in the second quarter of Wednesday night’s 116-98 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals… While cortisone injections could make it possible to return to the series, which continues with Friday’s 9 p.m. Game 2, Dragic is an impending free agent, which could factor into the approach.”

LA Times: “The Lakers are too big: They outrebounded the Heat by 18. The Lakers are too unselfish:They passed their way into so many open three-pointers that they made 11 of 17 at one point. The Lakers are too deep: They came back from that early deficit with LeBron James on the bench. And the Lakers are too, too much Anthony Davis, and who wants to bet he becomes the Finals MVP in his first try? Davis had 34 points, nine rebounds and made all 10 of his free throws. He scored 11 points in the first quarter when the Lakers most needed him and never slowed.”

OC Register: “It wasn’t just Anthony Davis, because he routinely picks on people his own size. It was LeBron James finding himself guarded by Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson (0-for-3), who must have felt like lion tamers carrying hamburger meat. Kyle Kuzma (6-foot-8) had free passage throughout the court, and when Miami tried to gang up on James and Davis, the Lakers just pushed the 3-point button and activated Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Danny Green. Lakers coach Frank Vogel went with his usual two-big lineup, with Dwight Howard starting alongside Davis, because he knew Miami would run out of footage before it went to the bench. At that point either Davis or Markieff Morris (6-foot-8) would be able to handle the center spot.”

Miami Herald: “The Lakers’ All-Star duo of LeBron James and Davis combined for 59 points, 22 rebounds and 14 assists. James finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists. The Heat’s All-Star duo of Butler and Adebayo combined for 31 points, six rebounds and five assists. Butler was Miami’s best player Wednesday, finishing with 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and 2-of-4 shooting on threes, two rebounds and five assists.”

Miami Herald: “The Heat shot just 11 of 35 (31.4 percent) from three-point range in Game 1. Crowder (4 of 7 on threes) and Butler (2 of 4 on threes) combined to shot 6 of 11 from behind the arc. Heat sharpshooter Duncan Robinson finished 0 of 3 from deep and rookie Tyler Herro was 2 of 8 on threes.”

LA Times: “With 1:23 left in the game, the Lakers had a 17-point lead and substituted in Jared Dudley, Quinn Cook and JR Smith. James sat on the bench covered in towels, then got up to shake hands with each of his teammates as the clock expired. “We always guard against [complacency], but in particular because of how much respect we have for this basketball team,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “We have great respect for those guys. We know that this is just one win. We’re happy that we got one win, but obviously we have to keep our foot on the gas.”

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