This isn’t the start to the NBA Finals that the Miami Heat were hoping for.
In Game 1, Miami was dominated by the Lakers in a 116-98 loss. To add insult to injury, Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic left the game injured as the team trailed by as much as 32 in the lopsided affair. In Game 2, both Adebayo and Dragic were out, but the Heat hung around ultimately falling 124-114.
Although the loss of their two-star players makes their mission a whole more challenging, there are aspects that they need to carry over in order to win Game 3.
Fourth quarter defense.
After Markieff Morris hit a three-point shot with 9:41 left in the contest, the Heat’s defense began to get results in result for the fight they were showing.
The Heat forced nine straight missed field goals over the next three and a half minutes before L.A. scored again. The offense just couldn’t get anything going to capitalize on the stops. Jimmy Butler scored on the first possession after the Morris three but after that, the Heat were also scoreless during that stretch.
Having scored would’ve cut their deficit to single-digits, creating a momentum swing capable of giving the Heat a victory.
After getting outrebounded by the Lakers 54-36 in Game 1, Miami narrowed the difference to 44-37 in Game 2. The Heat still need to be more active on the glass and are yet to have a player come down with 10 boards this series. Olynyk led the team in rebounds with nine in Game 2, with Butler coming down with eight and Jae Crowder seven.
In Game 2, Anthony Davis had 8 offensive rebounds as he mauled through the zone defense. With that said, Miami needs to make sure to get a body on him to prevent him from dominating inside once again.
Getting to the free-throw line.
In the second game, the Heat shot 34 free throws compared to 14 in the first. The difference came down to how aggressive the team was in forcing their way to the free-throw line. They also shot 91 percent from the line when given more opportunities from the charity stripe.