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Los Angeles’ firepower proved too much for shorthanded Miami as the Lakers beat the Heat, 124-114, in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Friday, October 2 (Saturday, October 3, Manila time).
Anthony Davis erupted for 32 points – 30 coming in the first 3 quarters – on top of 14 rebounds to lead the Lakers to a 2-0 lead over a Heat crew that lost two of their best players to injuries.
LeBron James played just as stellar as Davis with 33 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists as the Lakers’ one-two punch eclipsed their combined scoring tally of 59 points in Game 1.
“He is a big-time player,” James said of Davis. “He understands how much our team needs him and he comes through.”
Jimmy Butler did everything for the Heat with 25 points, 13 assists, and 8 rebounds, but they failed to match the Lakers’ force with key players Goran Dragic (foot) and Bam Adebayo (shoulder) sidelined.
A 39-point third-quarter explosion put the Heat within striking distance going into the last frame, 93-103, but the Lakers did not crumble and even led by as many as 14 with James unloading 10 points in the period.
Rajon Rondo delivered 16 points and 10 assists off the bench for the Lakers, while Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope chipped in 11 points apiece in the victory.
The Lakers are now halfway through their first championship since 2010, hoping to dedicate it to late franchise great Kobe Bryant, the player at the forefront of their last title run.
“It is always special to be able to represent someone that meant so much,” James said as the Lakers came out victorious again wearing the “Black Mamba” jerseys.
“For us to honor him, being on the floor, this is what it is all about. We’re thinking about the Bryant family, Vanessa and them daughters. They’re with us and we’re with you guys.”
Kelly Olynyk finished with 24 points and 9 rebounds for the Heat, while Tyler Herro added 17 points and 7 rebounds in the loss.
‘Moments of truth’
Although the Lakers stretched the lead to 18 points multiple times, the Heat wouldn’t go away.
They outscored Los Angeles 39-35 in the period — but in the end they just didn’t have sufficient stopping power and they couldn’t get the deficit below 9 points in the final quarter.
“We need a little bit more from everybody, whatever that is,” Olynyk said.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra acknowledged that the Heat face a tough challenge against the bigger, physical Lakers.
“In those moments of truth when we had opportunities to get the game closer it usually seemed to end up in an offensive rebound or something near the basket,” Spoelstra said.
“But this is the deal. If you want something badly enough you’ll figure out how to overcome it.
“They have great size and Anthony Davis is an elite player. We’re trying to get something accomplished and you just have to go to another level,” added Spoelstra, whose team will try to do just that in Game 3 on Sunday (Monday, Manila time). – with a report from Agence France-Presse