It was not the same dominant performance that’s been seen at times during the playoffs, but the Los Angeles Lakers remained undefeated in their Black Mamba City Edition jerseys, holding off the Miami Heat for a 124-114 win in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
Myers Leonard and Tyler Herro got the start in place of Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic, and each buried a 3-pointer early into the game. However, the Lakers immediately began to dominate the paint with Dwight Howard and Anthony Davis feasting on the smaller Heat front court.
Kyle Kuzma got off to a quick start off the bench, nailing a three from the top of the key and finishing a layup off a nice cut. Miami then went into a 2-3 zone that seemed to slow down Los Angeles and muck up the game, but the Lakers still led 29-23 at the end of he first quarter.
Their 3-point shooting picked up with the Heat switching to zone as several players were able to knock down open looks to extend the lead to double digits. LeBron James was key in this stretch, facilitating from the paint and generating those shots whenever Miami came to double.
But once James was on the bench, the Heat began to punch back as they moved the ball and cut into open space to get good shots of their own, trimming the deficit to four points. Rajon Rondo and James responded by shredding the Miami defense with pinpoint passes and the Lakers walked into the half with a 68-54 lead.
That was despite not putting forth their best effort, as the Lakers had eight turnovers, hardly went to the foul line and were 9-for-27 behind the arc.
Much like the opening of the first quarter, the Heat’s outside shooting looked sharp but Davis continued his impressive midrange game, draining three consecutive attempts. James also added to Miami’s defensive woes, attacking the rim and finishing or drawing fouls in the process.
Despite the pairing’s dominance, the Heat battled back with timely buckets that kept them within striking distance. The lack of defense for L.A. hurt them, and as a result went into the fourth quarter only up 103-93.
Jimmy Butler kept the Heat hanging around, bullying his way to the basket for free throws and a dunk in the lane while the Lakers went cold from distance. The lack of outside shooting bogged down L.A.’s offense, but fortunately they were able to string together stops and get several offensive rebounds to stay up by double digits.
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