Lakers cruise to an 18-point Game 1 win

Bradley Piros, Courier Staff

Everyone knew this series between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat was going to be exciting, and Game 1 certainly delivered. L.A. took a 1-0 series lead with a dominant 116-98 win Wednesday night.

The Lakers were slow to start while Miami came out firing. The Heat managed to own a 25-12 lead with four minutes left in the first quarter, all this while Lebron James was taking his usual rest. It wasn’t looking too great for L.A., but they stormed back to take a 31-28 lead after one period of play. Miami went a little over three minutes without a basket, which opened the door for the Lakers, and they never looked back.

At halftime, the Lakers were up 65-48. L.A. kept their foot on the pedal and took a 93-67 lead after three quarters.

The fourth quarter was the only one in which Miami outscored L.A. They did so 31-23, but it just wasn’t enough to close the giant lead that the Lakers pulled away with.

Anthony Davis scored a game leading 34 points with nine rebounds and five assists. Lebron James almost dropped a triple-double but was one assist short scoring 25 points with 13 rebounds and nine assists. He currently holds the record for most triple-doubles in the NBA Finals with 10.

These two were of course a big part of the win, but so was the Lakers’ bench. They added 31 points to this one with Alex Caruso scoring 10 of them. You can argue that Miami’s bench was better this game but that’s because Tyler Herro or Kendrick Nunn didn’t start. They combined to score 32 points, more than all of the Lakers’ bench. Together, Miami scored 49 points off the bench and lost.

That’s because Duncan Robinson put up a whopping zero points. Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo combined for only 14. Jimmy Butler put up 23 and Jae Crowder had 12, all from behind the arc.

It appeared as if Dragic, Adebayo and Butler all picked up minor injuries of some sort during the game as well.

The Heat shot just 31.4 percent (11-35) from the three-point line while L.A. went 15-38 or a slightly better 39.5 percent. Miami had a 42.7 percent field goal rate to the Lakers’ 45.2 percent.

That’s a quick summary, but what can we take away from this game?

I saw two main things from Miami. The first and foremost is that Butler can’t do it all himself. He cannot carry this team to an NBA championship. He needs his entire team to step it up a little bit. Robinson had an off night and he’ll do better, but it just goes to show that Butler needs all the help he can get to take down James and win the Heat’s fourth championship in franchise history.

The second thing for Miami is that they are nothing if their three-ball isn’t on point. Once again, Herro had an off night, only going 2-8 from three-land. But they simply need that percentage to be better if they plan on outshooting L.A.

We learned that Anthony Davis is not affected by the pressure and is ice cold as ever. In his first ever NBA Finals appearance he led his team in scoring. But, what else did he do? He drew fouls, going a perfect 10-10 from the line to help boost his team’s lead.

We already knew that James was going to show up to these finals saying that he’s locked in right now more than he ever has been in his career. That almost led him to a triple-double and, if the Heat can’t figure out how to contain him, then consider this series over.

I don’t think Miami is getting swept, however. This thing really can go to seven. The Heat just all around had an off night. I believe they’ll somehow storm back to even the series Friday night.

In all three of Miami’s championship runs, they’ve lost the finals opener. So, they’ve been here before and history is on their side, but maybe not against these Lakers.

L.A. would love to tie the Boston Celtics for most NBA championships, and at the rate they’re going, they’ll do just that.

I want a long and grueling series, but the Heat will have to do better than that before this thing’s over in four.