Are the Miami Heat done after game one of the NBA Finals?
Game one of the NBA Finals was a disappointment for the Miami Heat as the Eastern Conference champions lost by 18 points. This is the first time the Heat have trailed in a playoff series this postseason, can they bounce back?
The Heat's leading scorer this postseason, Goran Dragic suffered torn plantar fascia but is still likely to return to action at some point during the series. Additionally, Bam Adebayo, one of the Heats two All-stars, injured his shoulder during game one and is not expected to play in game two. The Heat were awful on Wednesday night and things could get even tougher for them because of all their injuries.
The Lakers shot 39.5% from three during their 18 point victory on Wednesday night. If the Lakers continue to get that type of production from the three-point line, it will be almost impossible for the Heat to win this series. Luckily for Miami, the way the Lakers shot the ball from three in game one likely won't last. During the entire postseason, the Lakers are only shooting 35.8% from three. Since Lebron James and Anthony Davis command so much attention around the basket, the Lakers will have open three-pointers available to them so it's key that the damage they do from three-point land is limited.
Another key against the Lakers is defending Lebron James. Like any superstar, you can't stop Lebron, you can only hope to contain him. The Heat have a plethora of perimeter defenders that can match up against Lebron such as Jimmy Butler, Andre Iguodala, and Jae Crowder. If Bam Adebayo, who was named to the NBA's all-defensive second team this season, returns to action, he will be protecting the rim. Miami's potential combination of numerous tough perimeter defenders and stout rim protection won't make things easy for Lebron.
The Heat may not have two superstars like Lebron James and Anthony Davis, but they do have numerous players that can consistently be productive. They will need consistent production from Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Kendrick Nunn. Nunn shocked everybody by averaging 15 points per game in the regular season as an undrafted rookie. However, Nunn tested positive for COVID-19 and has not nearly been the same player since. After serving key roles in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics, Robinson and Herro were just a combined 2-11 from three in game one of the NBA Finals. If they want to win this series, it's paramount for Nunn, Herro, and Robinson to turn things around quickly.
Game one certainly did not go the way the Heat had planned. After their 18 point loss, many are already counting the Eastern Conference Champions out. This isn't the first time the Heat have been underdogs this postseason. Few expected them to get past the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics. The Heat are a tough and resilient team who absolutely still believes they can win this series. If Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo return to action, these NBA finals could get very interesting.