Lakers vs heat
Photo Credit: CBS Sports

Preview: Lakers vs Heat – NBA Finals – Game 1

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

 

This game one of the NBA Finals follows the Lakers’ game 5 win that finished off the Denver Nuggets.

 

 

Photo Credit: CBS Sports

The Lakers have proven themselves to be the elite team that we all hyped up as the favorite to win it all at the beginning of the season. They have overcome some tough competition with the Portland Trail Blazers, the Houston Rockets, and the Denver Nuggets. Despite that, this NBA Finals will be challenging to predict due to how evenly matched both teams are. The Lakers opponent, the Miami Heat, are one of the best-coached teams in the league. They have the chemistry to overcome their disadvantage in pure talent, and they have great leaders in Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

In-game five against the Denver Nuggets, LeBron James took over. He managed to put up 38 points, 16 rebounds, and ten assists. Having a game like that in Game 1 will most-likely lead to a victory over the Heat. The problem is, having games that good is tough to do consistently.

 

 

The Heat have a better defense than the Nuggets since Adebayo is elite at guarding the paint and Jae Crowder is a solid three and D option.

 

 

Photo Credit: Silver Screen and Roll

The Heat has more depth than the Lakers. Tyler Herro has had career-defining games in the playoffs, Goran Dragic has been efficient, and Duncan Robinson has been scoring a ton of points. The Lakers stars will have to dominate games to beat the Heat four out of seven. Anthony Davis will have to produce just like he has been throughout the playoffs. Even if James has a monstrous game like Game 5 against the Nuggets, Davis will have to have a solid game as well.

The Lakers will consider starting Dwight Howard just like they did when they beat the Nuggets. Howard plays with a more aggressive and strength-reliant style than JaVale McGee. That would be the Laker’s best bet to overcome Bam Adebayo guarding the paint. He will most likely be defending Davis, which is already hard enough. Having an aggressive Howard as opposed to McGee racing up for second-chance, points will give the Heat some problems. 

Rajon Rondo could be the Lakers X-Factor of this series. He picked it up against the Nuggets when given more minutes as a result. His aggressive defense led to the Lakers getting steals and fastbreak points. Rondo is an excellent matchup against the Heat because their offense is mostly reliant on ball movement and team chemistry. The only time it isn’t is when Butler starts taking over. Rondo ruining the rhythm of one player may easily lead to the Lakers getting points from turnovers due to clogging up the Heat’s passing lanes.

 

 

A possible issue for the Lakers could be their three-point shooting. 

 

 

Photo Credit: Silver Screen and Roll

LA has not won a game in the playoffs when shooting below 30 percent from beyond the arch. Hopefully, this won’t be too much of a problem because they seem to have found their rhythm as of late. They only shot poorly in game one against the Trail Blazers, Game 1 against the Houston Rockets, and Game 2 against the Denver Nuggets.

Danny Green has been inconsistent but has improved his shooting and defense over the last couple of games. His experience in the NBA Finals will help him perform better than he did towards the end of the regular season. Kyle Kuzma has also stepped up his three-point shooting. He has had some poor performances, but his inconsistencies have not been as prevalent, especially against the Nuggets.

Eric Spoelstra is a two-time NBA champion, so the Lakers have slightly less overall depth than the Heat. To win this game, James and Davis will have to take over, and their role players will have to shoot at least 30 percent from three.

 

 

The Lakers have the talent advantage, the experience advantage, and a good matchup against the Heat. Game 1 should be close but the Lakers should win in a close one. Tip-off is scheduled for Wednesday at 6:00 pm and it airs on ABC.

 

 

 

NBA Finals schedule (All times PT)

  • Game 1 – Wednesday, September 30, 6 p.m.—ABC
  • Game 2 – Friday, October 2, 6 p.m.—ABC
  • 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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