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2020 NBA Finals: Heat vs. Lakers Game 2 odds, pick & prediction

Profile Picture: Dan Halverson

October 2nd, 2020

Things are looking awfully bleak these days in the Sunshine State following a Game 1 annihilation of the Miami Heat by the Los Angeles Lakers. After opening the 2020 NBA Finals as 4.5-point favorites in Game 1, the Lakers have been shifted all the way up to 9.5-point favorites in Game 2.

Sat, October 3 2020, 1:10 AM

LA Lakers

Spread

-9.5

Moneyline

-520

Total

O 216.5

Miami Heat

Spread

+9.5

Moneyline

+380

Total

U 216.5

L.A. crushed Miami in Game 1

In Game 1, Miami got off to a quick start, leading in the first quarter 23-10 and looking every bit like the live dog that has quietly steamrolled through the Eastern Conference Finals. Then things changed. From halfway through the first quarter until the start of the fourth quarter, the Lakers went from down 13 to up 26, a massive 39 point swing.

Butler and Adebayo among the walking wounded

Not only did the Heat come out of Game 1 beaten down and defeated, they suffered numerous injuries. Jimmy Butler rolled his injury on an awkward drive attempt. Bam Adebayo suffered a neck/shoulder injury. Goran Dragic suffered a torn plantar fascia. The availability and effectiveness of all three players will be questionable for Game 2, and that obviously leaves massive question marks for a Heat roster that has relied heavily on all three players throughout the season.

Davis and Morris neutralized Adebayo in Game 1

The Lakers dominated the Heat in Game 1 thanks to the overwhelming athleticism of Anthony Davis and LeBron James. While three-point shooting is a great equalizer in the sport, size has been and always will be an advantage. After an entire playoffs in which Adebayo has looked like one of the most athletic players on the court, he was largely neutralized by Davis. Davis has taken criticism for his unwillingness to guard traditional centers over the years, but Adebayo is the kind of player that he does matchup well with. And when Davis is switched off, Markieff Morris possesses the size, strength, and veteran savvy to contain the Heat big man. LeBron James is equally capable of slowing down Adebayo, when needed.

Heat went cold from deep

WIth Adebayo being a near non-factor and shooting just 2-8 from the field, the Heat looked like a team reliant on switches and picks on the perimeter. But with Duncan Robinson, Goran Dragic, and Tyler Herro going just 2-12 from three-point range against Lakers guards content to shade their defense toward that perimeter, the Heat really looked stifled offensively.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is a brilliant strategist, but when you look at the roster composition of both teams, it’s hard to envision a scenario in which he’s capable of overcoming the obvious athletic advantages the Lakers possess.

Lakers well positioned to blow out Heat

Heading into Game 2, bookmakers have made the largest adjustment to a line between two teams that they’ve made for any matchup in the playoff bubble. Traditional NBA handicapping would say to not overreact to Game 1, but it’s fair to simply assume that the combination of Heat injuries and a mis-calculated Game 1 line has this where it needs to be. Even with the extra points and the whole world sensing the inevitability of a Lakers victory, I saw nothing from the Heat’s matchups both offensively and defensively in Game 1 that makes me confident they can stay within double digits in Game 2.

NBA pick: Lakers -9.5

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