The Los Angeles Lakers took care of the Miami Heat in a dominating fashion in Game 1 of the 2020 NBA Finals.
Adjustments are key in any series, but the Heat are going to have to make some major changes if they're going to even things up at 1-1.
Here are three things to watch for in Game 2.
What if Adebayo and Dragic can't play?
Nothing went Miami's way in Game 1 as All-Star centre Bam Adebayo (shoulder) and starting point guard Goran Dragic (foot) both suffered injuries and didn't return to action.
Each player underwent an X-ray before the contest concluded and while Adebayo's came up negative in diagnosing him with a left shoulder strain, Dragic wasn't as lucky, as he's been diagnosed with a torn plantar fascia.
The Heat have listed both players as doubtful for Game 2, meaning head coach Erik Spoelstra will have to devise a gameplan that doesn't include two key starters.
INJURY UPDATE: Goran Dragic (left foot torn plantar fascia) is listed as doubtful to play in tomorrow's #NBAFinals Game 2 vs the Lakers.- Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) October 1, 2020
Bam Adebayo is also listed as doubtful after a MRI revealed a neck strain (left side).
So who are the likely replacements should neither player suit up?
Rookie guard Tyler Herro seems like a logical selection to fill in at the guard spot despite struggling to keep up with the Lakers' size in Game 1. He's battle tested after playing big minutes in the Eastern Conference Finals and has proven that he doesn't shy away from the moment. Look no further than his 37-point performance to help the Heat take a commanding 3-1 lead over the Boston Celtics.
Replacing Adebayo is much more difficult as Miami already struggled against Los Angeles' bigs in Game 1. Will they downsize and start Andre Iguodala, fully embracing small-ball with a lineup that doesn't have a player over 6-foot-7? Or will they elect to go with reserve centre Kelly Olynyk, who hasn't seen consistent (or significant) playing time since earlier the first round but would give them a bit more height to try and disrupt the likes of Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard?
Either way, the Heat's players will have to embrace the challenge of punching up a weight class should Adebayo miss Game 2.
Lakers' 3-point shooting
3-point shooting has been one of the biggest questions looming over the Lakers all season.
Los Angeles ranked in the bottom-10 in the league shooting 34.9% from beyond the arc in the regular season. The Lakers have been a bit more consistent in the playoffs in shooting 35.5% from 3, but after watching Miami contain a much better perimeter shooting team in the Celtics, it raised a familiar question of "can the Lakers' shooters step up?"
In Game 1, they did.
After a slow start, Los Angeles got itself back into the contest with the 3-ball. The Lakers shot 11-for-17 (64.7%) from beyond the arc in the first half to build a 17-point lead at halftime.
Through the first two quarters, every player that checked into the game (aside from starting centre Howard) converted at least one 3-pointer. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Danny Green buried two apiece to lead the way, playing a huge role in opening things up inside for Davis and LeBron James early on.
Off the bench, Rajon Rondo, Alex Caruso, Kyle Kuzma and Markieff Morris each hit one 3, combining to go 3-for-6 from long range.
The @Lakers shoot an efficient 11-17 from 3-point land in the opening half of Game 1 on ABC!#LakeShow #NBAFinals pic.twitter.com/XeZunZZLlY- NBA (@NBA) October 1, 2020
It's hard enough to stop LeBron and AD even when the Lakers' shooters aren't hitting their perimeter jumpers. If they continue to knock them down at this rate, this series may not last very long.
Last but certainly not least, look out for another monster performance from Davis.
Long awaiting his opportunity to showcase his skills on the NBA Finals stage, the seven-time All-Star did not disappoint in his debut, going off for 34 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three blocks on an efficient 11-for-21 shooting from the field, 2-for-4 from 3-point range and 10-for-10 from the free throw line.
AD (34 PTS & 9 REB) was UNSTOPPABLE in Game 1 👀#NBAFinals pic.twitter.com/BLwVkGshRK- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) October 1, 2020
Davis was living in the paint, getting easy layups and dunks early and often. With little resistance from the Heat, even with All-Defensive Team member Adebayo in the middle, that bodes even worse for Miami should he be unavailable.
To put into perspective just how much damage he did close to the basket: Davis went 7-for-9 from inside the restricted area, per NBA.com Stats.
He was looking to score every time he touched the ball, putting forth an aggressive attitude that looks like trouble for Miami if he keeps that mentality going forward. We know what Davis is capable of when he gets into that type of zone and after a dominating first game, he'll surely smell blood in the water.
AD has the ability to put this series away quickly if he brings that Game 1 intensity for the entire series.
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