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NBA Finals Game 2 Recap

After a blowout in Game 1, the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat returned to the court for Game 2 of the 2020 NBA Finals. Los Angeles took advantage of the injured Heat and snagged Game 2 with a score of 124-114 to go up 2-0. Tyler Herro and Meyers Leonard started for the injured Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo. Herro became the youngest player in NBA history to start a Finals game.

Los Angeles Lakers Win Game 2 of the NBA Finals

First Half

Similar to Game 1, the Lakers and Heat went back and forth for the first 5 and a half minutes. With 8:05 left to go in the first quarter, the Lakers went on a quick 8-0 run, led by Dwight Howard with six points, a rebound and a block. The Heat quickly went with their 2-3 zone to take away the paint. It worked, as the Lakers started 1-6 from behind the arc, with the lone three point shot by LeBron James.

For Miami, Duncan Robinson started 0-3 from behind the arc. Jimmy Butler crashed the boards and was involved in the passing game and Andre Iguodala provided solid help defense in the zone. However, the Lakers made it up on the offensive end. They ended the first quarter with high-low action from James, leading to an Anthony Davis dunk.

The Lakers headed into the second quarter with a 29-23 lead, shooting 52 percent from the field.  Their defense stepped up to limit Robinson and Herro offensively. However, Miami cut the lead to 10 after a three-point shot from Jae Crowder at the 8:01 mark.

The Heat cut the Lakers’ lead to four at 45-41 with five minutes left of the half.  The Lakers bounced back through free throws from Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, along with solid defense and passing from Rajon Rondo.

Los Angeles finished the first half setting the NBA record for three-point attempts (27), but only made nine. Despite the Heat’s strong start on defense, the Lakers finished the half with 30 points in the paint. Herro and Crowder finished with nine points, but Butler started slow. Seven of his 11 points coming from the free throw line.

Second Half

Los Angeles started the second half with a 68-54 lead and both teams started strong, making shot after shot. Butler, Crowder and Robinson got to a hot start, but the Lakers returned with a 12-foot jumper from James and back-to-back makes from the red hot Davis. He made the Lakers’ last nine points before a layup from James to give them an 82-64 lead with 8:24 left in the third. The Lakers started the third quarter shooting a perfect 7-7 until the 7:02 mark, but the Heat continued to shoot well despite playing without Adebayo.

James and Davis continued to dominate on offense, despite the Lakers’ bench cooling off in the third quarter. Butler’s leadership kept the Heat within 13 points with under four minutes to go. Despite Davis’s dominance on offense, the Lakers’ defense struggled with Butler’s aggressiveness and Kelly Olynyk scoring eight points off the bench, along with Herro’s free throws and strong drives to the basket. These factors cut the Lakers’ lead to only 10 heading into the fourth quarter.

Los Angeles quickly got into foul trouble with three team fouls in under three minutes. After a three-pointer from Markieff Morris and a dunk from Butler, both teams cooled off and went just below two minutes without a basket. An head-scratching stat is that despite the Lakers’ 111-101 lead, Green and Caldwell-Pope were only 2-17 from the three-point line. Both teams struggled offensively, only scoring 35 points in the fourth quarter.

Miami gave the Lakers trouble with their zone defense and gritty pass and cut movements on offense. They fought until the last second. However, the size of Davis and James, along with the Lakers’ defense was too much for Miami and sealed the 124-114 win. This is James’s first 2-0 start in his career.

Top Performers of Game 2 of the NBA Finals

Once again, Davis stole the show, finishing with 32 points and 14 rebounds. James also dominated and finished with 33 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Despite the duo’s success, the Lakers struggled offensively. Rondo, Caldwell-Pope and Kuzma were the only other players to finish in double digits. Rondo finished with 16, while Caldwell-Pope and Kuzma added 11 each.

The Heat demonstrated their struggles without Adebayo and Dragic, but their grit kept them in the game. Butler bounced back in the second half, finishing with  25 points, eight rebounds and 13 assists. Olynyk stepped up from the bench, scoring 24 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Herro played well in his first NBA Finals start, finishing with 17 points and seven rebounds, and Crowder added 12.

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