The Los Angeles Lakers were in complete control of Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, and a majority of that dominance came from Anthony Davis.
While Davis also had an impressive showing in Game 1, his success on Friday night was related to the Heat desperately lacking size down low with Bam Adebayo missing the game due to a shoulder and neck strain.
Adebayo has been Miami’s most important player during the playoffs, leading the team in rebounds, assists and blocks. His presence was deeply missed by the Heat, as Davis got whatever he wanted, finishing the game with 32 points and 14 rebounds.
The Heat were also without Goran Dragic, who was their leading scorer in the first three rounds. Adebayo’s injury was less severe than Dragic’s, so while the guard’s status for Game 3 is still up in the air, Adebayo believes he will be returning to action, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
“Yes, I believe I’ll be in the lineup,” Adebayo told Yahoo Sports after missing the Los Angeles Lakers’ 124-114 victory that gave them a 2-0 series lead. “I’m feeling better. I believe I’ll play. … We’ve got to play with a level of desperation. That’s what I see. We’ve got to be a desperate team and come out with a lot of energy from the jump. I’m confident we can turn things around. … We just got to continue to fight. We’ve done it all year.”
Adebayo and Dragic both were officially listed as doubtful for Game 3.
The Heat have been one of the NBA’s scrappiest teams all season, and it’s what led them to the Finals in the first place. Much of that energy came from Adebayo, who has proven himself to be one of the better young talents in the league.
They were able to shut down Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in just five games, while handling the young Boston Celtics in six. For the Lakers, it’s a reminder that there is no quit in them, and they will not simply lay down and accept defeat.
Erik Spoelstra had to hold Adebayo out of Game 2 against his wishes
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra had to take matters into his own hands when Adebayo tried to play in Game 2, despite it being clear he was not healthy enough to go.
“I had to play the role of not just head coach, but almost of a parent the last 24 hours. These two guys are really amazing. Like everybody in our locker room, there’s a real special sense of brotherhood and responsibility,” Adebayo said.
“They were both lobbying to play and we ultimately had to take the decision out of their hands for tonight. So we have other guys obviously that will get an opportunity tonight and we have learned over the course of really the last three or four months you expect the unexpected.
“The world has changed and so many things have been thrown at us in the last three or four months, I think our level of grit and perseverance has been tested and proven and it will be again tonight.”
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