Lakers vs heat
Photo Credit: CBS Sports

Preview: Lakers vs Heat – NBA Finals – Game 3

Los Angeles Lakers (14-3)  |  Miami Heat (12-5)


Game 3 of the NBA Finals follows the Lakers 124-114 game 2 victory over the Heat


Photo Credit: Heat Nation

In game two, the Heat was missing Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic. Dragic’s injury is a torn plantar fascia, which the recovery time for is typically 9 to 12 weeks. As for Adebayo, his injury was on his left shoulder. It has been nagging on him during the playoffs.  The Heat revealed his MRI which showed a neck strain on the left side. Dragic is listed as doubtful, while it’s been reported that Adebayo plans to play. 

The Heat does not have enough talent to keep up with the Lakers. They must rely on team chemistry and coaching, which is challenging without Dragic. Dragic’s odds of playing are much lower than Adebayo’s. Even then, it will take a lot to beat the Lakers with how LeBron James and Anthony Davis have been playing. In game two, they combined for 65 points, and there’s no reason to believe they won’t continue to play with that dominance in game three.

Davis utilized the paint more this series, which is surprising because the Heat are typically great at guarding the paint. Davis will keep pushing the paint since he has found so much success down low in this series. If he struggles there, he will shoot his midrange and most likely put up near 30 points, especially if Adebayo doesn’t play.

As for James, he will take over the offense once the squad starts to slow down. He typically tries to find the most open teammates with his elite passing ability—the second half or when his teammate’s struggle is when he takes over.



The Lakers have been making the smart decision to start Dwight Howard.



Photo Credit: Silver Screen and Roll

The odds are that Howard will keep starting for the rest of the series. He has proved he can start and that his aggressive play style is what’s best for the Lakers at this point. Frank Vogel said that he use to have Howard come off the bench, because he was afraid of him getting into foul trouble early if he started. Though he has had some foul trouble in these playoffs, he has not fouled out. Having him start has been worth it for the Lakers since he plays solid defense and tires out the Heat with his playstyle.

Even if he doesn’t put up the numbers, his role helps exhaust the Heat because they have to guard Davis in the paint and stop Howard from getting rebounds or posting up in the paint.

The Lakers shot 34 percent from three in game two while the Heat shot 40.7. Even with the Heat outshooting them by 6 percent, they still lost by 10. The talent matchup is too much for Miami unless Davis and James go cold, or the Lakers cannot hit from three at all.

Since James and Davis have so much talent and determination this season, it will take a lot for the Heat to win even one game in these Finals. If Adebayo does not play, they will need some serious luck on their side to win. The Lakers would have to shoot below 30 percent from three, which they have done only three times in this entire playoffs. Even then, there is still a lot for the Heat to overcome. 

If the Lakers have an off game, they have the talent and experience advantage, so winning should not be a problem. Even if Adebayo does play, stopping James and Davis this series will be near impossible. Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro both playing over 40 minutes in game two does not help the Heat’s chances either.



Game two showed that outshooting the Lakers from the three-point line was not enough for the Heat to overcome the Lake Show’s insane amount of talent. Tip-off is scheduled for Sunday at 4:30 pm and it airs on ABC.




NBA Finals schedule (All times PT)

  • Game 1 – Lakers 116 – Heat 98
  • Game 2 – Lakers 124 – Heat 114
  • Game 3 – Sunday, October 4, 4:30 p.m.—ABC
  • Game 4 – Tuesday, October 6, 6 p.m.—ABC
  • Game 5* – Friday, October 9, 6 p.m.—ABC
  • Game 6* – Sunday, October 11, 4:30 p.m.—ABC
  • Game 7* – Tuesday, October 13, 6:00 p.m.—ABC

*If required

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-Kyle Randolph – Franchise Sports Media


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