The Miami Heat were without Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic in game two, which led to a loss, 124-114. Jimmy Butler battled throughout, while others stepped up into the rotation. Here are five takeaways from the game…
#1: Jimmy Butler controls the pace early by doing everything on offensive end.
It was obvious that Jimmy Butler was going to need to take control of the offense in game two, and he did it in the most Jimmy Butler way. He continued to try and get his teammates going, which led to him dishing out eight assists in the first half. But when the three point shots aren’t falling, which will be discussed down the line, it’s tough for him to continue to play this way. He was doing everything he possibly could to try and get Miami this win, but there’s ony so much you can do without Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic. He did control the pace early as well, getting to the free throw line to try and slow the game down. This was just another representation of that Jimmy Butler impact.
#2: The Lakers control the paint once again.
The Los Angeles Lakers continued to take advantage of their length in game two, which led to them working the ball inside the paint. The zone definitely wasn’t helping either, since they seemed to have it figured out. Anthony Davis would cut down the baseline, which led to a bunch of easy layups and dunks. It’s also no easier to control Anthony Davis when Bam Adebayo isn’t on the floor. It was clear the Lakers would take advantage of this going in, but Miami needs to take advantage of their own strength, which is three point shooting. If they don’t capitalize on that, it’ll be tough for them to win.
#3: Six first half threes won’t cut it.
The three point shooting in the first half wasn’t ideal for Miami, only hitting 6 threes. Duncan Robinson’s 1 for 6 from deep in the first half was no help either, and with him struggling, it’s an even harder task for Jimmy Butler. Ultimately, even though the threes weren’t falling, you must continue to get the shots up. The only way you can get yourself back into the game is to play to your strengths, which is the shooting once again. Playing without Goran Dragic definitely hurt them offensively as well, since he’s a guy that they can always look to when the offense is choppy. The Duncan Robinson struggles may have had something to do with Bam not being out there, due to dribble hand-offs, screens, and the option of passing out of shot attempts to the roller.
#4: Anthony Davis’ outstanding performance is hard to beat.
Anthony Davis just showed once again why he is a star in this league. He was going to need to take control of this game, since he had a favorable match-up with Bam Adebayo out. He was doing it from absolutely everywhere on the floor, especially around the rim on offensive rebounds. Miami clearly couldn’t compete with AD above the rim due to the lack of bigs with that type of athleticism. He scored 32 points on 75% shooting, and grabbed 14 rebounds. And once again, when you don’t have Bam Adebayo to guard him one-on-one and play the zone, it makes it that much worse. There’s no way to stop Anthony Davis, but having Bam Adebayo out there to try and slow him down would’ve been pretty valuable.
#5: Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic were clearly missed.
This obviously goes without saying, but Miami missed Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic tonight. For starters, Bam Adebayo on the defensive end was much needed. A guy that you can throw at the offensively gifted Anthony Davis, but more importantly a guy that can thrive down low in the zone. Also, his screen setting and play-making abilities were missed offensively, which was a major reason the shooting wasn’t at their elite levels. Goran Dragic was also needed, since he would’ve been key in getting the offense flowing. His ability to attack the basket draws so much attention, that it opens up shooters as well. And lets not forget how great of a shooter Goran can be when called upon. Once again, it goes without saying, but Miami needs their offensive and defensive engines to win.